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MOSTLY BOYS. 



SHORT STORIES 



BY 



Francis J. Finn, S.J., 

Author of ''•Percy Wynn" " Tom Play/air" "Harry Dee" "Claude 
Lightfoot" " Et heir ed Preston," Etc. 



ENLARGED EDITION. 



New York, Cincinnati, Chicago : 
BENZIGER BROTHERS 
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See, 
1897 



rt*>7 



Copyright, 1894 and 1896, by Benziger Brothers. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGK 

The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke 7 

The Pickerel Prince 32 

The Last shall be First 46 

A Young Hypocrite 65 

Our Western Waits 71 

The Legend on the Locket 90 

Because He Loved Much 96 

The Butt of the School 106 

Freddie's Fishing Adventure.... c 130 

The Children* of the Snow 148 

Charlie's Victory 159 

A Batch of Letters 169 

A Very Unpopular Boy 178 

My Strange Friend.... 198 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/mostlyboysshortsOOfinn 



MOSTLY BOYS. 



Uhc Waaer of (Beraifc) ©"IRourfee, 

A CHRISTMAS STORY. 
I. 

It was five minutes after nine on the morning 
of December 23d, when a small boy, with an 
expression akin to the pathetic upon his smug 
features, entered the Second Academic class- 
room of Marquette College, Milwaukee, and 
handed his teacher this note: 

9:04 A.M. 

Gerald O'Rourke, late. 

Please admit. 

A. MOSHER, S.J. 

Mr. Lawton read this communication with a 
frown. He was impatient of late-comers, as are 
all earnest teachers. His frown quickly disap- 
peared, however, as a grin at once cheerful and 
deprecating came upon Gerald's upturned face. 

''Don't mind it this time, sir: I was up late 

7 



8 The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke. 

last night practising the Christmas Mass, and 
mamma couldn't get me up this morning. I've 
got to stay after class for Father Mosher any- 
how." 

And then Gerald's face, which had grown 
gloomy as he recalled his after-class engage- 
ment with the reverend prefect of discipline, 
lighted up with a smile as he caught the teach- 
er's assumed expression of delight at this an- 
nouncement. 

With a cheerfulness that expressed itself even 
unto levity in his walk, he went to his seat be- 
side Maurice Desmond, and giving that young 
classmate a stealthy but sharp dig in the ribs, 
he unstrapped his books and prepared himself 
for the labor of the day. 

" Are you kept in ? whispered Maurice, as 
he brought his head below the lid of his desk in 
simulated quest of a penholder. 

"Sure! " 

Maurice grinned, and was about to duck his 
head again, when he noticed that Mr. Lawton 
was taking an exaggerated interest in his move- 
ments. Maurice grew very solemn and atten- 
tive. Having in a very short time thus regained 
the confidence of his teacher, he slowly and sup 
reptitiously composed the following note : 



The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke. 9 

Dear Gerald: I'll bet you one pair of 
beads that you'll be late for the four-o'clock 
Christmas Mass. MAURICE DESMOND. 

Gerald after the consumption of much time 
and patience answered : 

Dear Maurice: I take your bet, and go 
you one more pair that I call at your house and 
wake you up at 3 : 15 Christmas morning. 

Gerald O'Rourke, Esq. 

Half an hour elapsed before Maurice had suc- 
ceeded in penning this delectable answer: 

Gerald O'Rourke, Esq.: You're out of 
your senses, you old sleepy-head; but I'll take 
you anyhow. You'll say those two pair of beads 
Christmas Day, and don't you forget it either. 

Yours, 
The Honorable Maurice Desmond, LL.D. 

At this stage of the communications Mr. Law- 
ton broke in : 

" Gerald and Maurice, bring me those papers." 
And thus ended the correspondence. 

II. 

There may be heavier sleepers in this v/orld 
than Gerald O'Rourke, but if so, they are un- 
known to the present writer. Not that his 



io The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 

sleepiness came upon him at early nightfall — 
oh, no ! He was wont to tease his mother, when 
nine o'clock, the appointed hour, came, to let 
him stay up " just a little longer." Mamma 
was quite indulgent to her eloquent little dar- 
ling, and it not unfrequently happened that 
Gerald wheedled his way to half-past ten of the 
night. On the following day, of course, Mrs. 
O'Rourke had a giant's task to bring the young- 
ster out of the land of Nod. Sometimes it was 
a matter of fifteen or twenty minutes. 

When, then, Mrs. O'Rourke, on Christmas 
Eve, heard from the lips of her sanguine son the 
account of his wager with Maurice, she smiled. 

1 'You foolish boy, why didn't you content 
yourself with the first bet? I'm quite sure we 
shall be able to get you over to the church by 
four o'clock : but if I want to have you out so 
as to call Maurice at half-past three, I shall have 
to get up at midnight ; and I can't afford to do 
that, my dear." 

" You don't have to, mamma," cried the eager 
child. tl Don't you think I'm able to get up by 
myself ? " 

" Decidedly not." 

" Well, I'll fool every one of you. Don't you 
remember our class picnic last June, when we 



The Wager of Gerald O ' Ronrke, 1 1 

all had to be at the college at seven o'clock 

sharp? And wasn't I up at six? And didn't I 
wake you, and papa, and Uncle Edward, who 
got up so mad, and offered to throw his big 
shoes at me? You just wait, mamma, and see." 

" Picnics are a different thing, my dear. You 
were so in love with the idea of spending a day 
out in the country and by the shore of Lake 
Michigan, that you were too excited to sleep 
soundly. Besides, it was warm and pleasant 
weather. But think of getting up at three to- 
morrow in the dark and the cold, and of getting 
out into the freezing air. Singing at Mass is not 
precisely a picnic." 

" But, mamma, I am going to sing the solo 
part of the Adeste Fideles at the Offertory, and 
if I were late, our choir-director would have a 
right to be disgusted — he's taken such pains 
with me. And then, too, I want to make a 
good Holy Communion ; and — and — I've got a 
plan to get up at three o'clock sharp." 

" What is that, Gerald? " asked his father. 

"Why, I'm a-going to have my alarm-clock 
set to go off at three o'clock sharp, and — " 

At this stage of Gerald's plan his father, 
mother, uncle, and two sisters broke into laugh- 
ter. The idea that any alarm-clock could pro- 



1 2 The Wager of Gerald O * Rourke. 

duce the least effect on Gerald, once he was 
asleep, struck them as being exquisitely ridicu- 
lous. 

Uncle Edward clothed this idea in words. 

" If you were to stack your room from floor 
to ceiling with alarm-clocks, and if you had the 
biggest kind of an alarm-clock for a bolster, and 
if all these alarm-clocks were, I don't say to go 
off, but to explode at three o'clock to-morrow 
morning, I am willing to bet anything I own 
that you'd snooze right along till your mother 
got at you." 

Again the laugh arose : Gerald was in a hope- 
less minority. 

"Huh!' snarled Gerald. "Confound you 
girls " — you see Gerald chose to shower his 
wrath upon his sisters, who, to tell the truth, 
were loudest in their merriment — " Huh! I will 
be up, and," he added with striking inconse- 
quence, li I can dress six times over while you 
two are combing, and pinning, and banging your 
hair." 

Then changing his tone, the orator addressed 
himself to the grown-up members of his family. 

" You needn't think that I'm trusting to that 
alarm-clock alone. That's only part of the 
plan." 



The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke. 13 

"Indeed! Let's hear the other parts," 
chuckled Uncle Edward. 

i ' I — er — I got it from my teacher. You see 
he knows all about that bet, because he captured 
the notes about it, and could hardly keep from 
laughing when he read 'em. Well, he said, 
'Just set your alarm-clock for three, and ask the 
souls in purgatory to see to it that you hear it 
go off. If you promise in turn to do something 
for them, they'll be pretty sure to take care of 
you.' And I've done it too — and I'll be up on 
time to-morrow as sure as — " 

"What were you going to observe?" asked 
Uncle Edward. 

Gerald had been on the point of saying " as 
sure as shooting," but there was in the family 
what he considered a prejudice against boyish 
slang; and so, at a loss for some less common- 
place expression, he paused, unable to conclude 
his peroration. 

" But what was it you promised? ,!l continued 
Uncle Edward. 

" Say, ma, I want to get a piece of bread and 
butter, please, I'm almost starving," cried Ger- 
ald as he hurried from the room, feeling that he 
had already said too much. Like many a good, 
pious, Catholic boy, he was, while over-frank in 



14 The Wager of Gerald O' Rourke. 

general, somewhat reticent in regard to his de- 
votions, and in his joyous little breast was en- 
shrined many a pretty little practice of piety 
about which even his mother knew nothing. 

However, before retiring, he communicated to 
her that should he win his bet, he was going to 
give a dollar out of his Christmas money to the 
poor for the benefit of the suffering souls. 

Mrs. O'Rourke kissed him. 

"And say, mamma, what are we going to 
have for dinner to-morrow? " 

This was his last question. 

But it was not his last thought ; for Gerald 
made it a point on the eve of a Communion day 
to try to think of nothing, once he was snug in 
bed, but the Blessed Sacrament, and he actually 
succeeded in this, though I am bound to say that 
he seldom lay awake for more than four or five 
minutes. 

On this blessed night he had just put his mind 
into this pious frame, when there came a sharp 
knock at his door, followed by the entrance of 
his father. 

" Why, papa! Did I forget to bid you good- 
night? " 

"No, Gerald; but you needn't look so sur- 
prised. I've just one word to say to you. I 



The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke. 15 

like your plan very much. You want the souls 
in purgatory to do you a favor. Now, I'm in 
trouble,, Gerald ; and perhaps they may help me 
too. To-morrow, I want you to pray for me at 
Holy Communion, and you must, try to get the 
holy souls interested in my case. I'm going to 
leave ten dollars in your coat pocket to add to 
your one dollar, which your mother told me 
about. It's all I can afford at present — perhaps 
more than I can afford. Don't tell any one 
what I've said to you : your mother is the only 
one that knows my trouble." 

" Oh, papa, is that why she looked as if she'd 
been crying? Her eyes were red this eve- 
ning." 

"She did cry at first, Gerald. But she is 
brave, and so will you be, my boy, if I lose my 
place." 

"What! " cried Gerald, sitting bolt upright 
in his bed; "is Mr. Bush going to get another 
business manager? " 

" I fear so, Gerald. He told me to-day that 
great pressure is being brought to bear upon him 
by a number of capitalists interested in the com- 
pany to put in another man. He has no com- 
plaint against me, but he fears that he will have 
to give in." 



1 6 The Wager of Gerald O Txourke. 

"Why, hasn't he got the say of it himself, 
papa? " 

"Yes; but then he's a weak man in some 
things, and he's afraid of losing his popularity 
with the members of a certain secret society to 
which he belongs. I wish he were braver. As 
it stands, it is now next to certain that I shall 
lose my place at the end of this year. So pray, 
pray hard, my boy, and don't fail to get the holy 
souls interested too. Good-night. " 

And, with a smile and a kiss, Mr. O'Rourke 
# left the room. 

Gerald lay awake for full fifteen minutes after 
this interview, and you may be sure he did not 
lie idle. Prayer that comes from the heart and 
idleness live far apart. 

III. 

"You are out of sorts, Henry," Mrs. Bush 
remarked to her husband toward sundown of 
the same day. ^ 

" So I am, Margaret. I don't feel at all well 
in body, and besides I'm distressed about a busi- 
ness matter. I'm afraid I shall be obliged to 
get a new business manager." 

"What! discharge Mr. O'Rourke? Why you 
used to say that he was the best and longest- 



The Wager of Gerald O'Rourke. 1 7 

sighted business man you ever met, and that he 
was worth far more than his six thousand a 
year." 

" I say so yet. By rights he should have 
eight or ten thousand. But instead of thinking 
of raising his salary, I'm worried night and day, 
by word and by letter, to replace him with a 
John Landen. Landen has many wondrous ad- 
vantages over O'Rourke," added Mr. Bush in 
bitter sarcasm. " In the first place, Landen is 
not a Catholic, and in the second, he belongs to 
at least five secret societies. In one of them he 
is several degrees above me." 

" It was a sad day for you, Henry, when you 
joined that society." 

" No, it wasn't — it brought me business." 

" Yes; but it took away your religion." 

"Not at all, Margaret. I'm a Catholic, and, 
what's more, I'll die a Catholic." 

" In the meantime, Henry, couldn't you man- 
age to live one? " 

For answer, Mr. Bush gave a growl, and took 
up the evening paper. 

"To-morrow, my dear, is Christmas. Won't 
you please promise to come to Mass with me? 
The children are all praying so earnestly ; they 
are sure that they are to be heard this time. 



1 8 The Wager of Gerald O' Rourke. 

It's fifteen years nearly since you entered a 
church. Come, dear, promise." 

There were tears in Mrs. Bush's eyes as she 
spoke, and a perceptible trembling in her voice. 
Mr. Bush was moved. 

He was now growing gray, and age was telling 
upon his health. For a moment he pondered 
the request, and, as he pondered, a sharp pain 
shot through his head. 

"I'm too worried just now, Margaret — some 
other Christmas. I'll go yet." 

"But, Henry, how can you promise yourself 
another Christmas? " 

"Margaret, Margaret !" he cried, rising im- 
patiently from his chair, tossing the evening 
paper upon a table, and putting his hands to his 
head, "for God's sake, don't worry me. I am 
wretched." 

The poor, good lady had unwittingly jarred 
upon her husband's feelings. All that day had 
the thought of death pursued him ; and he had 
built his heaven upon this earth. 

Mr. Bush was a millionaire many times over. 
When a young man, he had been a practical 
Catholic. But business and gain had gradually 
drawn him away from his religious practices, till 
he had become content with fulfilling his Easter 



The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 19 

duty. Then had come the allurement of a 
secret society. Against this temptation he held 
out for some time ; but, unfortunately for him 
at this period of trial, there arose an unpleasant- 
ness between him and his parish priest. Mr. 
Bush was in the wrong; yet, in a fit of passion, 
he joined the secret society, and his place in 
church knew him no more. 

At supper-time that evening his little daugh- 
ter said : 

Papa, won't you please take me to Mass to- 
morrow? " 

All the children, as Laura spoke, looked ear- 
nestly at their father. 

" I can't, my little one; I'm not well." 

And Mr. Bush, not without emotion, saw the 
signs of bitter disappointment upon their young 
faces. 

" There must have been something wrong 
about that novena of ours," growled Harry, a 
classmate of Gerald's. 

Mary, the eldest of the three sisters, motioned 
to him to be quiet. 

" Oh, I guess I can talk a little," pursued the 
undaunted youth. "At least, papa, you ought 
to come and hear the singing. I'm in the 
chorus myself, but I'm nothing extra. Gerald 



20 The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 

O'Rourke's the boy. He's got a voice like an 
angel, only angels don't play tricks. You just 
ought to hear him; you'd be willing to go out 
and die. Gerald's one of the nicest boys in Mil- 
waukee — a heap nicer than I am. I like him 
immensely. Say, papa, I'm going to bring him 
home with me to-morrow. I'm sure you'd like 
to talk to him. You haven't seen him now for 
almost a year. He's nicer than ever." 

" Whatever else you do/' roared Mr. Bush, 
bringing down his fist on the table, and scowl- 
ing fiercely, " don't bring that boy near this 
house. I don't want to see him." 

And to the consternation of all, Mr. Bush 
hurried from the room. He was very ill and 
very wretched. Poor millionaire ! 

The children, some hours later, were sleep- 
ing peacefully, when Mr. Bush entered the large 
room devoted to Laura and Edith and Mary. 

They had very long stockings, these little 
mites, which were carefully pinned to the mantel 
over the fireplace. Prominent among the bric- 
a-brac on the mantelpiece stood a statue of the 
Sacred Heart. 

Mr. Bush dropped a shining yellow coin into 
each stocking, one of which fell to the floor. 
He picked it up carefully, and, not finding the 



The Wager of Gerald O' Rourke, I 21 

pin, caught hold of the statue with the intention 
of using it as a weight to hold the stocking in 
place. There was a letter, an open letter, under 
the statue. Mr. Bush adjusted his glasses and 
read : 

Dear Babe of Bethlehem : 

A merry Christmas to you ! It will surely be 
merry to you, if people love you who do not 
love you now. It will be very merry to us, if 
papa comes to Mass with us. Oh, he's such a 
good papa; we are sure you would like him, if 
you knew him better. Now please get papa to 
come to Mass. I have made the Nine First 
Fridays all for papa, and we're sure that papa 
will come to Mass, and we're going to give all 
the money that papa drops in our stockings to a 
priest to put flowers on the altar. When we get 
up on Christmas, dear Babe of Bethlehem, we 
expect that this letter will not be here. That is 
to be the sign that papa will go to Mass on 
Christmas day. With much love, dear Babe of 
Bethlehem, we are, 

Your dear little ones, 

Mary (I'm ten and I wrote 
this letter by myself). 

Edith (she's eight). 

Laura (she's six). 

After some moments of irresolution, Mr. Bush 
put this letter in his pocket, and with swimming 



22 The Wager of Gerald (X Rourke. 

eyes turned to leave the room. He stopped on 
the threshold, passed his hands through his hair, 
groaned, and with an expression of extreme 
misery returned to place the letter where he had 
found it. 

He departed very ill, very unhappy. Tossing 
restlessly, he got no wink of sleep that night. 

Poor millionaire ! 

IV. 

Whir-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r ! 

Gerald leaped from his bed and into his 
knickerbockers before the clock had quite fin- 
ished with its noisy Christmas greeting. In an 
incredibly short space of time he had completed 
his toilet, and was out in the cold biting air of 
the city. It was very dark and gloomy, and 
Gerald felt tempted to return to his bed. But 
he shook off the feeling at once, and turned his 
attention to what his father had told him the 
night before. 

"I do hope that my toes will ache, and that 
my hands will get chapped, and that my ears will 
pain me like everything; and I offer it all up for 
the holy souls, and if any of them get to heaven 
on account of a cold little boy, I hope they'll 
remember to pay it back to his papa." 



The Wager of Gerald O 'Rourke. 23 

Saying which, the merry-faced ascetic, as he 
skipped along with unmistakable signs of levity, 
removed his gloves and his ear-muffs, and be- 
yond devoutly wishing that it were colder, paid 
no attention to the biting blast. 

After walking several squares he stopped at a 
street corner and peered through the darkness at 
the shadowy outlines of a large house. 

"Does Maurice live on Eighteenth or Seven- 
teenth Street? I can't remember. Yes; that's 
the house, I'm sure." 

And recklessly trampling over the " lawn" so 
beloved of Milwaukee people, Gerald tripped up 
the stone steps, put his finger to the electric but- 
ton and held it there quite tranquilly, while the 
bell tinkled away as though it would never stop. 

It had been tinkling for something over sixty 
seconds when Gerald heard heavy footsteps upon 
the staircase within, and in some inexplicable 
way Gerald caught that in their fall which gave 
him reason to believe that they were the foot- 
steps of a very angry man, and he took his finger 
off the electric button. 

When the door was thrown ooen with a bang:, 
Gerald gasped in horror, for there, glaring at 
him fiercely, full dressed, spectacles on nose, fire 
in his eye, stood Mr. Bush. 



24 The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 

"You little rascal," roared the victim of in- 
somnia and dyspepsia and an uneasy conscience, 
as he saw the dim shape of a small boy standing 
in the doorway, "you little rascal, what do you 
mean by your infernal noise at this time of the 
night? Answer me at once — what do you 
want? " 

Gerald gasped, shivered, and was within a 
little of sinking down upon the threshold in his 
agony. Finally, in desperation and with a de- 
termined effort, he blurted forth : 

" Mister! wh-wh-wh-what did you get in your 
stocking ? " * 

And then he dashed down the steps in a man- 
ner that would have brought instant death to 
any one who was not a small boy, realizing, as he 
fled into the darkness, that Mr. Bush had recog- 
nized him by his voice, and feeling certain that 
his father's hopes, frail as they had been, were 
now completely shattered. 

For some moments Mr. Bush stood stock-still. 
Then clapping his hands together, and taking his 
overcoat from the rack, he too went out into the 
darkness. 

* These words and the incident connected with them are 
facts, related without the change of a single circumstance. 



The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 25 

V. 

The Offertory of the early Christmas Mass had 
come. The organ played a few soft strains of 
the Adeste Ftde/es, and Gerald standing in the 
choir by his friend Maurice, whom he actually 
had awakened before half-past three, trilled forth 
that sweetest and grandest of hymns. His voice, 
clear and firm, filled the church with its liquid 
sweetness; but as he came to the words " Venite 
Adorermis" it trembled, quivered, faltered, and 
softened so rarely, that gentleness, love, and 
pathos seemed to have found perfect expression 
in his wondrous notes, and on the concluding 
word u Dominum" it dissolved in a musical 
sigh or sob of reverential awe. 

Thus it seemed to the listeners; and many an 
eye filled, and many a heart was exalted in un- 
wonted tenderness. But no one in the church 
had the least conception of what had brought 
out this prodigal wealth of pathos and love and 
awe. 

This is the fact of the matter. 

As Gerald came to the verse beginning with 
" Venite Adoremus" his eye chanced to wander 
among the worshippers, and there, almost imme- 
diately before him, sat Mr. Bush, his spectacled 



26 The Wager of Gerald O" Rourke. 

eyes bent full upon the soloist. Gerald was 
at once seized with nervous dread ; he could 
scarcely go on. But he struggled bravely, and 
thus it came about that his nervousness produced 
an effect at once so beautiful and so rare that 
Mr. Bush took out his handkerchief and rubbed 
his eyes for full five minutes. 

Mr. Bush's presence surprised Gerald very 
much. He knew that the millionaire was not 
a church-goer. On the other hand Mr. Bush 
was surprised himself. Acting upon impulse, he 
had left his house ; acting upon impulse — an 
impulse of grace, you may be sure — he had en- 
tered the church. And now, how beautiful it 
all seemed — the singing, the lights, the solemn 
ceremonial ! There at the altar as celebrant 
stood Father H., Mr. Bush's former parish 
priest. How venerable he looked; and as after 
the Communion this kindly-faced old man turned 
to say a few words to his congregation, words of 
peace, of love, of good-will, Mr. Bush took out 
his handkerchief again. 

When Gerald had concluded his thanksgiv- 
ing, and, accompanied by Maurice, was tripping 
down the front steps of the church, he saw Mr. 
Bush advancing towards him. 

To Maurice's astonishment, Gerald took one 



The Wager of Gerald O ' Ronrke. 2 7 

— two flying leaps, and dashed down the street 
at full speed. 

" What's the matter with Gerald O'Rourke?" 
asked Mr. Bush, not a little astonished. 

" He's all ri , oh, I beg your pardon, sir," 

answered Maurice, "he's not all right; I really 
believe he's going crazy, sir. He never acted 
that way in church before. Merry Christmas, 
sir." 

"Thank you, thank you — same to you. 
Look here, my boy, would you do me a favor? " 

" Certainly, sir." 

" Go to Father H. in the sacristy, and tell 
him there's a man in his confessional waiting to 
see him. Tell him it's an old friend that he 
hasn't seen for over fourteen years, who wants to 
go to Holy Communion right away." 

"All right, sir;" and Maurice was turning 
away. 

"Hold on; another thing. My name is 
Bush. Do you know where I live? " 

"Of course I do. You live on Eighteenth 
and I live on Seventeenth and State streets, 
and our houses look almost like twins, and 
that's why Gerald O'Rourke missed my house 
this morning and went to yours. He told 
me about it, sir, and he's nearly scared to 



28 The Wager of Gerald O'-Rourke. 

death. I used to think that Gerald didn't 
know what fear meant." 

"Very good; now I begin to understand. 
Well, go to my house, please, and give my wife 
this message. Tell her I've been to Mass and 
am now going to Holy Communion. Tell her 
also to go up to our little girls' room and to take 
away the letter that she will find under the 
statue of the Sacred Heart on the mantelpiece, 
to read it, and then lock it up in my desk with- 
out letting the little darlings — girls, I mean — 
know anything about it. Do you understand?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Repeat! " said Mr. Bush sententiously. 

A minute later, Maurice, having summoned 
Father H. from the sacristy, was racing along 
the street as though bound on a message of life 
and death. 

VI. 

" O-o-o-o-o-h," screamed Edith, dancing 
barefoot upon the carpet. 

"What? what?" cried Mary. 

" It's gone — the letter. The Infant Jesus has 
read it." 

Then Mrs. Bush, her face beaming, and tears 
of happiness in her eyes, entered and kissed her 



The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 29 

little ones ; and when they told her of how the 
letter had been taken away by the little Babe of 
Bethlehem, she kissed them again, and left the 
room to conceal her emotion. 

Mr. Bush presently entered, and it was hard 
to believe that this cheerful, happy, radiant man 
had passed the night without a moment's sleep. 

He was still romping with the little ones and 
listening for the hundredth time to the story of 
the letter, when there came a ring at the door- 
bell. 

" Say, papa," cried Harry Bush, " Gerald 
O'Rourke's here and says he wants to see you." 

" Bring him here at once." 

Gerald entered, pale and nervous. He had 
come to apologize, to brave — poor little hero — 
the lion in his den. 

But before he could open his mouth, Mr. Bush 
sprang forward and caught him in his arms. 

" It's all right, Gerald. You needn't explain. 
It was the right door-bell. Tell me the whole 
story, my boy, and I'll promise you a bit of 
good news." 

"Well, you see, sir, I'm an awful heavy 
sleeper," began Gerald, very much astonished 
and delighted, " and still I made a bet that I'd 
wake Maurice Desmond up for the four-o'clock 



30 The Wager of Gerald O ' Rourke. 

Mass. Then I got the souls in purgatory inter- 
ested in waking me up — and maybe they didn't 
get me out. 

" And then, sir, when I came to your house 
by mistake, and found myself facing you I felt 
just dead certain that it was all up with my 
father. Of course, you can't expect the holy 
souls to do everything. It's easy enough to 
rout a small boy out of bed, but it's harder to 
keep a man in a good position when every one's 
against him, sir, and — oh, my! I've let it out! " 

" What were you good enough to let out, 
sir? 

" Why, I promised papa to say nothing about 
it to any one; and here I've gone and blabbed 
it the first chance I got." 

" Gerald O'Rourke," said Mr. Bush, "you're 
a smart boy, but you don't know it all. Now, 
sir, it was the holy souls sent you ringing at my 
bell." 

"And the Babe of Bethlehem," added Edith. 

" If you hadn't rung that bell, I should not 
have gone to church, and if I hadn't gone to 
church your father would have lost his place. 
But now tell him this : he shall stay in his posi- 
tion as long as I live, and," he added in a whis- 
per to his wife, " from the 1st of January next 



The Wager of Gerald O' Rourke. 31 

he shall get the salary he deserves. And, Ger- 
ald, I owe the holy souls something too. Tell 
your father that, if he can make it convenient, I JfrT 

should like to go round with him this afternoon 
and help him distribute that ten dollars, plus 
my share." 

When Gerald reached the foot of the steps he 
broke into a run which promised to outdistance 
his record of the early morning. 

And so Gerald was happy, and his father was 
happy, and his family was happy, and Mr. Bush 
and his family were happy, and many a poor 
man was happy ; and, best of all, I doubt not 
that many a poor, suffering soul winged its flight 
that day to heaven, all on account of a harmless 
little wager of which every one came out winner. 



Ube flMcfeerel prince. 

In an ancient boat which had seen the wear 
and tear of many seasons sat an ancient negro. 
The negro looked full sixty years of age ; the 
boat at least one hundred. The negro had lost 
much of the hair which had once covered his 
simple old head ; the boat had lost all of its 
paint. The negro was commonly known as 
" Uncle Ben"; the boat as "Annie Laurie." 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon of a day 
in July. The boat was firmly anchored forty 
yards off a high bank, lying south of Buck 
Island ; and Uncle Ben was devouring a slice of 
watermelon with some animation, and watching 
a hand-line thrown from the shore with modified 
interest. 

Uncle Ben had had very good luck on this 
particular afternoon ; just twenty minutes before 
attacking the watermelon he had landed a fierce 
pickerel, at least four pounds in weight. 

And yet Uncle Ben was not happy. His rug- 
ged and seamed face, ordinarily wreathed in 

smiles, wore a sad expression, and now and then 

32 



The Pickerel Prince. ■$$ 

a deep sigh with the ejaculation " Lawd 'a' 
mussy on us! " testified that there was " trouble 
on the old man's mind." 

On finishing the modest slice, Uncle Ben, by 
way of grace, groaned out once more, "Lawd 
'a' mussy on us ! 

Then stepping to the stern, he placed his pick- 
erel under the stern-seat, and returning to the 
prow, threw himself down in the boat, wrapped 
a flaming red bandanna about his face, and pres- 
ently gave notice by his musical breathing that 
he was in the land of dreams. 

It was sunset. A slight lurch of the boat dis- 
turbed the sleeper. Stretching his arms, yawn- 
ing, and again ejaculating " Lawd 'a' mussy on 
us!' Uncle Ben removed the bandanna. Sud- 
denly the sleepy lines on his face vanished as if 
by magic ; the partially closed eyes, still heavy 
with sleep, opened to their widest, and Uncle 
Ben jumped to his feet, as though he had been 
lying upon a bed of hot ashes. He jumped to 
his feet, I say, but he rested upon them only 
for a moment, staggered, sank down upon the 
seat upon the prow, and then stared to such a 
degree that his eyes threatened to pop out of his 
head. 



34 The Pickerel Prince. 

Uncle Ben had some reason for all this vast 
expression of astonishment. Before going to 
sleep he had placed his pickerel under the stern- 
seat, and covered it securely. And now — the 
cover was wide open, and the pickerel was 
gone. 

This of itself would have astonished Uncle 
Ben; but his eyes just now were gazing upon 
something more wondrous still. For there in 
the place which the pickerel should have occu- 
pied sat a copper-colored creature decked out in 
a fashion most extraordinary. 

Upon his feet was a pair of handsomely 
beaded moccasins, upon his head a many-col- 
ored cap with a high feather, and covered with 
trinkets which looked like little bells. A light- 
red blanket was wrapped around his body. 
His face was the strangest part of him. Over 
his copper cheeks ran bright dashes of red and 
blue, and heavy black lines were painted under 
his eyes. The position of his body was in keep- 
ing with his grotesque appearance. He was so 
wedged in the place where the pickerel had 
been that he was bent double, his feet almost 
touching his breast and his fierce eyes glaring 
just over his moccasins and under his nodding 
plume. 



The Pickerel Prince. 35 

" Who is you? " gasped the old negro, catch- 
ing the boat by the gunwale on either side. 

" I'm the pickerel," came the answer in a 
low, stern alto voice. 

" You is! " ejaculated Uncle Ben. 

11 Ebenezer, Ebenezer!" moaned the appari- 
tion, shaking his arm free of the blanket, and 
pointing his copper finger straight at the as- 
tounded old man. 

And then Uncle Ben, falling upon his knees 
in the prow, made the sign of the cross, clasped 
his hands, and said in chattering tones: 

" Dar now; clar out, you debbil." 

"I am not a devil," answered the curious 
creature, in milder, yet equally musical, tones. 
" I was once an Indian prince." 

" Was you, sah? " 

' * Ebenezer, Ebenezer!" 

" Dat's my name, sah." 

" But 'sah' is not my name. Call me 'my 
highness.' " 

"Yes, my highness." 

" No; ' your highness'; I'm an Indian prince- 
ling." 

"Yes, you' highness; is you dead? " 

"Dead! now I begin to live. Ebenezer, I 
want your scalp." 



36 The Pickerel Prince. 

" I'm sorry > sah — you* highness — but I hasn't 
got no scalp." 

" Well, no matter, Ebenezer; you have saved 
me out of Lake Vesper." 

"I — I cotched you, didn't I?" 

"You did, Ebenezer. A wicked medicine- 
man one hundred years ago changed me into a 
pickerel because I told a lie." 

"Is you a hundred years old, you' high- 
ness ? 

"I am fifteen; I was fifteen when I became a 
pickerel, and I'm fifteen yet." 

"You is?" 

" I am. The medicine-man decreed that I 
should remain a pickerel till the wickedest man 
on earth should catch me. Then I was to re- 
turn to my original form." 

" And does you' highness mean fo' to say dat 
I'se de wickides' man on de face ob de yarth? ' 

" It would seem to be the fact, Ebenezer." 

" I didn't know dat befo'," said the negro 
simply. 

At this moment there was a great splash near 
the high bank, and the negro was about to turn 
his head. 

" Look not for your life! " exclaimed the ex- 
pickerel. " Keep your eyes on me." 



The Pickerel Prince. 37 

"All right, you' highness. You'se runnin' 
dis boat. Ef you like it, you' highness, I'll just 
jump off, and let you have dis boat to youssef." 

"No, Ebenezer, " answered the pickerel 
prince suavely. " The boat is yours, and I am 
your friend." 

"Thank you, sah," said Uncle Ben, bowing 
his head till it touched the seat in the centre 
of the boat. 

There was now a jerk at the hand-line. 

"Touch it not! " cried the prince in warning 
tones. "My enemy is now at your line; he 
wants you to catch him." 

" Is dat so, sah? " 

" Yes; it is the medicine-man. He is a dog- 
fish." 

" Yes, sah — you' highness, I mean." 

" In order to make a pickerel out of me he 
was obliged to become a dog-fish himself." 

" Served him right, you' highness." 

" Exactly; do you see how your line is jerk- 
ing — don't look toward land or you'll die. The 
medicine-man is caught; I know his way of 
pulling at a line. Now, you see, Ebenezer, he 
wants you to pull him in. Once he got into the 
same boat with me, he'd make a pickerel of me 
again. Now this thing of being a pickerel is 



38 The Pickerel Prince. 

rather unpleasant. Pickerels are rude characters; 
whereas I was brought up in the lap of luxury." 

" Yes, you' highness; I undehstand. You was 
brought up by de lamp of luxury," repeated 
Uncle Ben, still on his knees, and still wearing 
the same profound expression of astonishment. 

" Now, Ebenezer, we can defeat the medicine- 
man's plans if you help me." 

" Help you? Cose I'll help you;" and Uncle 
Ben arose from his knees. Although still some- 
what frightened, he now began to take an inter- 
est in the young and friendly pickerel prince. 

" Very good, Ebenezer. Now, to begin with, 
you can't take in your line without hauling in 
the medicine-man. Of course it wouldn't do for 
me to be here when you catch him." 

"Lawdie!" exclaimed Uncle Ben, "I dun 
want to cotch a medicine-man. I'll cut the line 
loose, and clar out." 

" If you dare to cut that line, Ebenezer, you 
will be haunted by a dog-fish for the rest of your 
natural life." 

" Is dat so, you' highness? " 

"It's dead certain. Now here's what you're 
to do. I'm going back into Lake Vesper to get 
my tomahawk, my ivory bow, and my quiver of 
arrows. I'm going to dive right here toward the 



2 he Pickerel I^rince. 39 

^hore. Just as soon as I dive you must turn 
your face toward Buck Island, and count three 
hundred." 

" I can't do dat, you' highness. I only knows 
how to count up to seventeen." 

4 'Very good; count up to seventeen ten 
times; then turn round, and haul in your line. 
But," here the prince of the pickerels shook a 
ringer of warning at the old man, lt for your life 
don't you dare to look around till you've counted 
seventeen ten times." 

" Yes, sah ; I'll count seventeen ten times." 

" Then haul in your line; and the medicine- 
man will be the deadest kind of a dog-fish you 
ever saw pulling at a line." 

" I neber saw a dead dog-fish pulling at a line, 
you' highness." 

" Maybe you didn't; it doesn't happen often. 
Now, as soon as you get your dog-fish, you can 
pull up anchor and go. Do you understand?" 

" Yes, sah, puffeckly." 

"Well, good-by." 

Here the pickerel prince extricated himself 
from his strange position, and putting his hands 
before his head, plunged shoreward into Lake 
Vesper. On the instant the negro turned his face 
toward Buck Island and counted with a slowness 



40 The Pickerel PrinCei 

and solemnity which evinced how thoroughly he 
had been impressed with the warning just given 
him 

After counting seventeen ten times over, 
the negro turned with no little trepidation and 
grasped his line. He brought it taut, and 
though he could feel that there was some object 
at the other end, there was no living resistance. 

Uncle Ben heaved a sigh of relief. 

" Dat 'ar dog-fish-medicine-man dead sho' 
nuff. Golly! " he continued, as he slowly pulled 
in, "but it's awful light." 

He began to fear again, and, being a pious and 
good old man, said a short prayer. 

When he had brought his catch to the side of 
the boat, he gave another gasp. 

There was no fish on his line ; nor was there 
any sign of a hook. Instead of the hook there, 
was a small cigar-box tied very carefully length- 
wise and cross-wise. 

With trembling hands Uncle Ben untied the 
box and opened it. 

Then with a gasp he fell upon his knees, while 
tears came into his poor old eyes. 

In the box, resting on cotton, were three 
bright silver dollars. 

Uncle Ben looked at these three pieces of sil- 



The Pickerel Prince. 41 

Ver for some moments; then rising from his 
knees, while the tears were still moving down his 
cheeks, he pulled up his anchor, and putting 
himself at his oars, took one vigorous stroke 
toward the farther shore. 

Then he heard a chorus of shouts and laughs. 

" Uncle Ben! Uncle Ben! " cried a voice from 
the land he was rowing from. 

There was a familiar ring in this call. Uncle 
Ben turned, and saw standing in full view on 
the bluff Frank Elmwood, Rob Collins, Willie 
Winter, and Claude Lightfoot. The last young 
gentleman was putting on his shoes. 

" Come here, Uncle Ben, we want you." 
How the old man's eyes lighted up with pleas- 
ure on seeing his young friends! It had become 
very lonesome; any human face would be better 
than solitude with the memory of the pickerel 
prince haunting it. He turned his boat round 
at once, and with a few strokes had gained the 
shore. 

Law' sakes!' he shouted, as he sprang 
from the bo?t, hugging closely, you may be 
sure, his cigar-box, " but I'se seen de mos' 
wond'ful sights. I spec' I'se goin' to die 
soon." 

" You needn't be frightened, Uncle," said 



42 The Pickerel Prince. 

Frank kindly. " We've been playing a joke on 
you. We didn't intend to scare you." 

" W-w-w-what! " cried Uncle Ben. " Does 
yo' mean fo' to say dat I didn' see no pickerel 
prince ? " 

" You saw Dan Dockery." 

Then the old man sat down on the bank in 
dumb amazement while the little boys danced 
and howled with glee. 

But when his eyes rested upon the tobacco- 
box he found words. 

" And do you mean fo' to say dat dis 
tobacco-box isn't a medicine-man ? 

" Of course it isn't; a box is a box." 

" And is dese heah tree dollars good ? ' 

" As good as any three dollars in the coun- 
try. 

" And is dey fo' me to keep ? " 

"Certainly, Uncle Ben; you're welcome to 
them." 

Then the old man got up, and every one of 
the merry youngsters about him grew very 
grave when they saw that Uncle Ben's face was 
quivering with emotion. 

" God bless you, evy one of youse. Youse 
de bes' boys dat evah cum dis heah way. It 
wuz God dat put you up to dat trick. My 



The Pickerel Prince, 43 

liddeles' boy at home was took sick yesday night, 
an' — an' — dey wasn't anything to eat in de 
house; an' I kem a-fishin' to git him a supper." 

" It wasn't a bad joke after all," said Frank. 
il It's the best joke we've played yet. Uncle 
Ben, you just come right over to our camp with 
us, and we'll give you something for your sick 
boy; we've oranges and jellies and lots of 
things." 

" Has you a watahmellon? ' asked Uncle 
Ben. 

Then the boys, who had come within a little 
of tears, began to smile. 

" We'll get you a watermelon, too, and while 
we're going we'll tell you about the pickerel 
prince. Ah, here comes Dockery! ' 

Dan appeared at this moment, with a face not 
yet completely free of the hideous paint streaks. 
Dressed in his ordinary clothes, he carried in his 
hands the Indian garments which he had just 
wrung out. 

" Halloa, Prince of the Pickerels ! " cried 
Claude. 

" How de do, sah," added Uncle Ben, ad- 
vancing and shaking Dan's hand. 

" I hope I didn't scare you," said Dan, grin- 
ning pleasantly despite the hideous face. 



44 The Pickerel Prince. 

li Not ten cents' wuth; and now I'm rich, 



san. 



11 You see, Uncle Ben," put in Elmwood, 
" Dan Dockery had just got the idea of dressing 
up as an Indian and performing a war dance for 
our amusement. His mother had sent him 
those Indian togs. We happened to see you 
fishing, and we knew that you sometimes went 
to sleep in your boat. This gave us the idea. 
We dressed Dan up as an Indian, and as soon 
as you fell asleep we rowed him over quietly to 
your boat, and took out your pickerel. Then 
we put Dan in the pickerel's place, and told him 
to tell you a fairy story, while we were to attend 
to your line. You remember the time you 
heard the splash near the shore? " 

" 'Deed I do, sah." 

" That was a mistake of Claude's. He 
couldn't help kicking when he made a dive for 
your line in order to tie the cigar-box to it. 
But Dockery was ready for any mistake like 
that, and kept you from looking." 

Then Uncle Ben shook hands all around, the 
happiest negro in the land. He bowed and 
smiled for full five minutes after the hand-shak- 
ing, and when he departed he left behind him 



The Pickerel Prince. 45 

the happiest set of boys that ever attempted a 
practical joke. 

After all, a practical joke, if not cruel or un- 
feeling, is a good thing. But when it is salved 
with kindness and charity and love, a practical 
joke is something that the very angels of God 
can appreciate. 

Uncle Ben's little boy recovered quickly; and 
Uncle Ben himself with his three dollars, in- 
creased a day later by two dollars more, invested 
so profitably that he has never known hard times 
since he received as his visitor the " pickerel 
prince." 



-• 



Ube %ast Sball be jfirst- 

One quiet evening, many years ago, three 
Portuguese youths were walking in the garden 
of a Jesuit novitiate. They formed an interest- 
ing group, for they represented quite fairly the 
three great varieties of novice-life. The leader 
of the band, Augustine Vasquez, was nearing 
the end of his two years' probation. His hand- 
some features were clothed in a serene modesty, 
and lofty spirituality shone from his eyes. He 
was one of those persons that a timid stranger 
would accost without hesitation. 

The second novice, Joseph de Motta, had but 
recently finished his first year of trial. In his 
deportment he was correct to a fault — a brother 
wag had said of him that he counted his steps. 
There was a smile upon his face, little short of 
being perennial, and apt at any moment to 
develop into a giggle. And yet there was some- 
thing austere in his expression, an austerity 
which would not down. He was earnest and 

pious, but could not understand why every one 

46 



• 
# 



The Last shall be First. 47 

in the world should not see the spiritual side of 
life exactly as he saw it. That very day he had 
broken three plates while serving his brethren 
at dinner, had burst into uncontrollable giggling 
during spiritual reading, and just at present was 
highly shocked. In short, he realized the defi- 
nition of a novice — animal risibile, scandalizabile 
et omnia rumpens, laughter-loving, easily scan- 
dalized, and breaker of everything. 

And indeed he had some reason for being 
scandalized; for the third novice was carrying 
on in a way that would have caused even young 
Peter Ribadeneira to catch his breath. Victor 
Pereira had just donned the cassock. He was 
hardly more than a child — and such a pretty 
child. His face was lighted up by eyes that 
danced and flashed in an exuberance of vitality 
from beneath brows pencilled into a rare deli- 
cacy. There was a bloom upon his cheek which 
came and went and changed place, as though 
these twin roses were playing at peek-a-boo with 
each other. What would most strike an ob 
server was his air of innocence, candor, and 
extreme youthfulness. His words emphasized 
the same traits. 

I don't see anything hard about a Jesuit's 
life," he was saying. " Now, for instance, 



48 The Last shall be First. 

there are your vows. Three? What are three? 
I'd as lief take six." 

■ ' True," assented Joseph de Motta; " to one 
who has a vocation and who corresponds with it 
the vows are a sweet burden." 

" Don't they ever allow one to go home? " 
inquired Victor. 

" Not during the time of the novitiate," 
Augustine made answer. 

" Is that so? I don't see why they're so par- 
ticular. I've been feeling a little homesick; but 
if you fellows can stand it, I can too." 

Here Victor picked up a stone, flung it at a 
bird on a tree near by, and would have been 
called to order by Joseph had not Augustine 
plucked his sleeve. 

" I suppose nearly all of us felt a little touch 
of homesickness at first," said Augustine kindly. 

" We must crush such feelings," added De 
Motta grimly. 

" Oh, if you can crush, I suppose I can crush 
too. I'm not afraid of your life. Anyhow, 
they won't miss me at home so much. 1 have 
four brothers at home. They are good boys. 
There's a fifth one, but he was different from 
the rest. He ran away from home years ago. 
As soon as I'm real pious I'll write him a letter 



The Last shall be First, 49 

and convert him — that is, if I find out where he 
is. When he was my age he was pious like me, 
and wanted to be a Jesuit, and mamma wouldn't 
let him. Now she's very sorry, and wishes she 
had. I guess mamma will miss me now. She let 
me go all on account of my brother. Maybe she's 
afraid I'll run away too. You see this cross ? " 
Victor took from his cassock pocket a small 
silver crucifix beautifully worked. " This be- 
longed to my brother. Mamma says he used to 
kiss it ever so often, and so when I left to be a 
Jeusit she gave it to me and told me to be sure 
to have it about me." 

" Who knows, carissime Victor, but that your 
cross may go into a far land," said Augustine 
gently. 

11 Then I go too," came the light answer. 

" The novice-master," continued Augustine, 
"asked me to tell you before the end of this 
recreation that the soldiers are coming to- 
day. 

" Pooh! I don't mind that. I'm not afraid 
of soldiers. My brother Angelo wanted to be a 
soldier. I haven't seen him for ever so long. 
But just wait till I get pious; I'll write Angelo 
a letter that will convert him. He went wrong 
when mamma wouldn't let him follow out his 



50 The Last shall be First. 

vocation. Ah! didn't she cry when I told her 
I wanted to come here. Why, the soldiers had 
been here already, and taken away all the old 
men — I mean, all the professed Fathers," he 
added, checking himself when he saw the look 
of horror that had come upon Joseph's face. 
" And when I heard that you novices and 
scholastics got together and put a young Father 
of the fourth year of theology in as novice- 
master, and then went on with your peeling of 
potatoes and sweeping of corridors just the same 
as if nothing had happened, I just thought it 
was fine." 

And here Victor's honest eyes blazed, and the 
roses on his cheeks spread into the purple flush 
of dawn, while he tossed his head proudly. 

" But, carissime } " resumed Augustine, " I 
fear you don't quite understand. The soldiers 
are to be here in earnest this evening; they're 
going to take us away." 

The flush of dawn upon Victor's face faded 
into the pallor of a cloudless twilight. 

" You're teasing me." 

" Indeed, I am not. On the 20th of Septem- 
ber the officer Castro tried to win us over. He 
told us that in four days the soldiers would be 
here to conduct us all into exile, unless we con- 



The Last shall be First. 5 1 

sented to throw off our cassocks and return to 
the world." 

" Do you think he meant it? " 

" There's no doubt about it, my dear young 
brother." 

" They're mean, these soldiers. But I— I'm 
not afraid." 

And then Victor gave a scream and a little 
jump as the porter's bell pealed angrily and a 
loud, clear voice rang out upon the air: 

" Open — in the king's name! " 

" Oh!" almost sobbed Victor, "it's the 
soldiers." 

' ' Pray, pray, carrissime Victor, ' ' said Augus- 
tine. " The great trial of our lives is at hand. 
I have a mother too, and I — I love her." 

And the brave Augustine stifled a sob; saintly 
people have tender hearts. 

A moment later the community bell rang out 
solemnly, while the steady tramp, tramp of 
marching men, with the clanking of arms, indi- 
cated that soldiers were entering the courtyard. 

" That bell means ^that all should go to the 
ascetery," said Joseph. 

41 Yes; you go ahead, carissime Joseph; I will 
come presently with carissimus Victor. I wish 
to tell him something first." 



5 2 The Last shall be First. 

When Joseph had gone some distance, Au- 
gustine turned to Victor. 

" My dear little brother," he said, his eyes 
soft with tenderness, tl you have just left your 
mother, and you're not used to our life. Aren't 
you a bit afraid? " 

In answer to which Victor placed his head 
confidingly upon Augustine's arm and broke into 
sobs. 

" Well, now, I'll tell you what to do. You 
needn't go up to the ascetery. Stay here. 
You see that summer-house there? Go in there 
and stay quietly. If the soldiers come this way 
you'll find a small opening below the bench. 
Crawl through that, and you're out on the public 
road." 

With a kindly smile and a soft word the 
elder novice turned away to meet with equal 
heart exile, imprisonment, or death; and as he 
walked bravely on he prayed fervently that 
the little Victor might yet make a good 
Jesuit. 

Now, no sooner had Augustine disappeared 
than Victor began to take a new view of the sit- 
uation. The clank of swords and the grounding 
of arms again rang in his ears, Ah! how gor- 
geous they must look, those soldiers. And 



The Last shall be First. 53 

besides, how were they going to treat those 
young Jesuits? 

Pulling off his cassock, he hastened from the 
garden. In the courtyard all was confusion. 
Soldiers were standing about, talking excitedly, 
while the rabble of followers from the city looked 
on open-mouthed. In the crowd no one took 
notice of the unfrocked novice. Hastening into 
the house, he ascended the stairs to the ascetery. 
A squad of soldiers guarded the door, which, 
however, was open. 

The scene within was striking. Standing 
each one at his desk were the novices, with eyes 
modestly cast down. Strange to say, but few 
faces were pale. Many a lip was moving in 
prayer. Forty novices! That means forty 
hearts animated with the highest and holiest 
of purposes; forty hearts burning to give them- 
selves entirely to Christ; forty souls all beau- 
tiful with glory, for they are a chaste generation. 

In the middle of the ascetery stood an officer 
with his back turned toward the doorway through 
which Victor was gazing. Standing directly in 
front of the novices were a young Father and 
three scholastics. In the exile of the professed 
Fathers these brave young men had discharged 
the offices of the absent superiors. 



54 The Last shall be First. 

" We who have taken our vows in the Com- 
pany of Jesus," the novice-master was saying 
in answer to some interrogation of the officer, 
" took them forever. We have no desire to 
look back. As for the novices, each one may 
answer for himself." 

Then ensued a scene at once solemn and 
touching. Victor listened eagerly. The sol- 
diers were so stationed at the door that he could 
just succeed in seeing the faces of his brother- 
novices. The officer and the young scholastics 
were screened from his view. But how he lis- 
tened! These were the words: 

" Young gentlemen, I crave your attention 
for a few moments." 

Not an eye was raised; save for the lips that 
moved in prayer, the line of novices might have 
been a line of statues. 

" Why don't you look at me? 

One of the novices — none other than Augus- 
tine — walked quietly over to the novice-master, 
and whispered in his ear. 

The Father nodded assent. 

" There is permission for all to look up," said 
Augustine. 

Forty modest pairs of eyes were raised and 
fixed with intrepid gaze on the man of arms. 



The Last shall be First. 5 5 

" His majesty the king/' continued the 
officer, " wants all Jesuits to leave his domin- 
ions; but he is very anxious that you who are 
novices should remain. You can become priests, 
or go home, or do anything except remain 
Jesuits. Now, which do you choose? If you 
want to be Jesuits you must leave Portugal, 
your native land, forever." 

No one spoke; no one moved. 

" Come," continued the soldier, " how many 
of you wish to remain? " 

No one spoke; no one moved. 

The silence was intense; the very soldiers at 
the door held their breath. 

The officer wiped his brow. Pity and grief 
were on his features as he looked upon these 
young men, many of them, as he knew, the very 
flower of Portugal's youth. 

" Do you all intend, then, to go into exile? " 

He looked at Augustine; Augustine bowed 
his head. The officer paused for a moment, 
then directed the same look of inquiry toward 
the next. The same sign was repeated. From 
one to the other he transferred his gaze, till 
forty heads had bowed. 

Suddenly there arose a yell of triumph, shrill 
and clear. Victor had forgotten himself in his 



56 The Last shall be First. 

enthusiasm. But into that yell he had put all 
his courage, and before the officer could turn 
our novice had clattered down the stairs for dear 
life, and found himself in the garden alone and 
trembling. 

Yet frightened as he was, he still had suffi- 
cient presence of mind to find his way to the 
summer-house, where he hid himself beneath a 
rustic seat, and lay trembling like an aspen. 
Poor Victor! it must be confessed he was an 
egregious coward. The poor little fellow had 
all his life been aware of this failing; but, 
strange to say, he had gloried in it. Now, 
however, as he lay there in an agony of terror, 
he saw this trait in a new light, and he began to 
despise himself. His past life took on a new 
aspect; a thousand incidents that had caused 
him to flush with pride now bore down upon 
him in an overwhelming cataract of shame. 

And indeed, for a boy, his life had been a 
strange one. The youngest child of the family, 
he had been treated more like a girl than a boy; 
and his ambition had been to be looked upon as 
a girl. Constantly with ladies, he had studied 
their ways, consciously at times, and often also, 
by a certain perversion of disposition, uncon- 
sciously. His brothers with one exception had 



The Last shall be First. 5 7 

encouraged him in his feminine manners. The 
one exception was Angelo, his eldest brother, 
who really and tenderly loved him. But once 
Angelo had left home, Victor met with little or 
no real opposition, and devoted himself to his 
dolls and his dresses and his skipping-rope. 
His father, it is true, did not approve of his 
oddities. " Madam/' he had once said to the 
mother, " it's no use educating that boy to be a 
nun." But beyond this remark, and an expres- 
sion of dissatisfaction now and then, he had re- 
frained from active interference. 

Of course, if our little friend had been a girl, 
he might have fallen into such ways without 
serious loss to his character. But being a boy, 
these things made an exotic of him. He had 
lain in the lilies and fed on the roses of life. 
His training was a monstrosity. Think of a 
boy flushing with pleasure when told that he 
was a perfect little girl! Victor recognized no 
higher compliment. And yet the lad had been 
essentially pious and devout. He had his little 
shrines, his little prayers, his little practices; and 
none of them were neglected. But even in his 
piety there was too much that savored of the 
hot-house. He knew something of prayer; but 
he did not know that every prayer to God that 



58 The Last shall be First. 

is not strengthened by self-denial rises on a 
broken wing. However, Victor was not a volup- 
tuary; his life had been pure and uncontami- 
nated, and his mind, save for the foibles of which 
enough has been said, a storehouse of beautiful 
aspirations. But his stainlessness was not of 
sternest stuff; the boy had never known a really 
strong temptation until — 

Ah! it had come at last — the one great temp- 
tation of his life, and he had yielded. Coward? 
That was too mild a word. He had followed 
Christ only to desert Him. He had been a 
traitor. The little novice, at this point of his 
reflections, began to shed the most genuine tears 
that had ever flowed from his eyes. He was 
humbled to the very dust. Had all his love for 
Our Lord come to this? Had all his aspirations 
ended in betrayal? 

" I must pray," he muttered to himself. He 
issued forth from his hiding-place and gazed 
about. A thousand stars looked down upon him 
as they had looked for centuries upon many a 
bruised heart. The night was well advanced, 
for his reflections had consumed several hours. 
He looked toward the house; it was buried in 
darkness and silence. Even the breeze, so 
blithe at sunset, had become hushed. 



The Last shall be First. 



59 



He was alone with God. 

Slowly he walked down the garden-path and 
ascended the steps. Looking neither to right 
nor left, for he would have trembled at every 
shadow, he proceeded to the chapel; and as he 
entered the sacred precincts his heart gave a 
great bound of joy. Yes, though all had left, 
the Master was still there, for the light was still 
burning before the tabernacle. His majesty the 
king, be it known to the reader, had graciously 
consented to allow his Master to remain, and 
had placed the chapel in care of a devout priest 
who lived hard by. 

Victor knelt near the door, and, bowing his 
head, told his tale of sorrow and weakness and 
misery to Him who is the best of all consolers. 
If ever a novice made a perfect act of humility 
it was this poor weakling. Long was the prayer 
that he poured forth — a prayer that: was none 
the less fervent for the sobs and sighs that broke 
from his heavy heart. 

But for all his praying Victor could not feel 
that he was any the braver; and he repeated, 
again and again, the self-same words: " O dear 
Lord, I am a coward, and I can't, I cant be 
brave." 

Gradually his sighs died away, and, exhausted 



60 The Last shall be First. 

by the conflict of emotions, the poor boy fell 

asleep. 

* * * * -x- 

Was this a vision ! Was it a dream, or a 
reality? Victor was standing half-way up a 
steep, rough hill. He was gazing down upon 
one who was climbing it, slowly, laboriously. 
No need to inquire who it was. There was a 
crown of thorns upon His head, drops of blood 
stood upon the calm brow, while intense suffer- 
ing had marked without contorting the sub- 
limely gentle countenance. His feet were bare, 
and as He dragged His heavy cross up the steep 
ascent, each footprint left a bloody trace. 

Victor fell upon his knees, Then that mild 
face, ineffably sweet for all the pain and agony 
and sadness that marked it, was turned upon 
Victor, and those sweet eyes that shone with 
a love which cannot be imagined rested in 
gracious pity upon the kneeling boy. Victor 
sprang to his feet, and rushing to the burdened 
Master, took the cross and placed it upon his 
own shoulders. Ah! such a weight. He stag- 
gered, and an intense pain penetrated his whole 
being. His feet gave way; he fell upon his 
knees, while that cross bore him down, down, 
down, as though the weight of all the universe 



The Last shall be First. 6 1 

were crushing him. Then Victor reached forth 
a hand of agony, and the Master caught it in a 
gentle clasp; and forthwith the cross felt less 
heavy. Victor tightened his grasp upon the 
sacred hand, and while the cross grew lighter 
each moment, his own forces grew stronger. 
Presently he was upon his feet and staggering 
feebly but with determination up the steep 
ascent. What though his feet bled; what 
though a crown of thorns formed about his 
head, and pressed it till the blood came drip- 
ping down his face; what though pain possessed 
his very being — was he not holding the hand of 
Jesus? 

His eyes were growing dim; his heart was 
beating furiously; his ears were losing their 
keenness in a whirl of ringing noises; but he 
held the hand of Jesus. One step more, and the 
summit would be gained! One step — he took 
it, and the dear hand was gone ! Darkness had 
set in, and Victor lost consciousness. 

When he came to he was clasping the taber- 
nacle. It was dawn, and the birds without were 
carolling in the ecstatic joy of early morn. 
Reverently Victor released his hold, moved to a 
retired corner of the chapel, and prayed with all 
the fervor of a changed heart. 



62 The Last shall be First. 

All ! happy boy ! he had made a long noviti- 
ate, for he had seen Jesus. The Spiritual Ex- 
ercises which novices spend thirty-one days in 
making are all directed to their seeing Christ — 
videre Christum. The Saviour in His ineffable 
love had brought our little Victor by the short- 
est of ways to the sight of that most blessed of 
visions. 

The sun had not yet risen when the little 
novice set forth down the street of the town, 
robed in his cassock, and with his crucifix in his 
hand. It was not yet too late. He would join 
his brave brethren in exile, in pain, in poverty, 
in privation, in death. He had seen Jesus. 

A kind lady called to him as he passed her 
house; she begged him to stay; she told him 
that many of the soldiers had been drinking all 
that night, and that were he to come upon some 
of them he would be murdered. He said a few 
gentle words of thanks and moved on. He had 
seen Jesus. 

Profane songs and profaner words broke upon 
his ear as he passed an inn; he took no heed. 
But a few moments afterward a crowd of soldiers 
flushed with drink came staggering forth, some 
singing, some swearing, some shouting out 
" Down with the Jesuits! " 



The Last shall be First. 6$ 

One of them chanced to see the novice. 

" Look! look! " he cried. 

There was a yell, a roar, a chorus of execra- 
tions, and the tramping of hurried feet. 

" Hold on, you brat! " shouted the foremost 
as he came within earshot of Victor. 

Victor turned and gazed upon them with un- 
quailing eye. 

il Say ' Down with the Jesuits! ' " continued 
the same man, catching Victor by the neck. 

" God bless the Jes — " 

Before he could finish his prayer, he was 
down, and twelve or thirteen men were beating 
him madly and trampling with spurred boots 
upon his prostrate form. 

It was a horrible sight, those flushed, brutal- 
ized faces, so devilish in their savage anger. 

" Look out! " cried a soldier standing on the 
outskirts. " Look out! here comes the Cap- 
tain! " 

But no attention was paid him, till a man clad 
in uniform, hatless and out of breath, came 
dashing in among them, and sent two of them 
to the earth with either arm. It was the officer 
who had interrogated the novice-master the 
night before. 

You cowards!" he fumed. " Go to your 



< i 



64 The Last shall be First. 

quarters. Why! it's a mere boy. Oh! " — he 
ground his teeth — ' ' some one shall pay for this ! ' 

Kneeling upon one knee beside the boy, he 
turned the bleeding body face upward. Then 
such a groan as broke from his bosom ! 

" My God! O my God! My little brother! 
Victor! " 

Victor opened his eyes. 

" I'm so glad you came back; kiss me, my 
Angelo." 

He closed his eyes again, while Angelo bent 
down and covered the calm, sweet face with 
kisses. 

" Angelo, this is your crucifix." Victor, 
amid all the blows, had held it tight to his heart. 
" Take it, dear Angelo; I have no further need 
of it. 

The officer could not speak. 

" Angelo, give my dearest love to mamma." 

Angelo bowed assent. 

" And, Angelo, listen: tell what I now say 
to the novice-master: — O my God, I vow pov- 
erty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of 

J> » 
esus. 

Then the eyes closed; and they never opened 

again. He had seen Jesus. 



H l^ouno Hypocrite, 

" This way, Father," said Sister Ambrosia v 
bowing me into one of the wards of St. Vin- 
cent's Hospital. 

A glance about the room, and I needed no 
words or introduction to discover the object of 
my visit. I had received word that morning 
that a very small boy with a very large head was 
seriously sick, and that he had asked most ear- 
nestly to see a priest. Now there was only one 
boy in the ward; and, young and inexperienced 
as I was, I could single out a boy in a group of 
men, even without the distinguishing character- 
istic of a very large head. 

^He was lying back on his bed, this little lad 
of eight years, his wan face pretty, gentle, 
eager, and expressive. There were dark rings 
about his eyes; and as I drew near he put aside 
a little red book and coughed. I knew that 
cough. How sad to hear it from one whose 
every limb and pulse should be alive with the 

buoyancy of happy youth ! 

65 



66 A Young Hypocrite. 

He reached out a thin, wasted hand to me, 
and his eyes shone with pleasure and reverence. 

His quick movement caused the red book to 
fall to the floor. I picked it up, and as I re- 
placed it beside his pillow, I observed that it 
was Father Faber's il Tales of the Angels." 

" Ah, my little man," I said, " so you're 
not too ill to read? " 

" No, Father," he answered in a voice that 
was pitifully weak and hollow. il It's about the 
angels, Father. I like to read about them ; es- 
pecially now." 

" Why now? " I inquired. 

" Because, Father, they say that maybe I'm 
going to die. And, of course, I'm anxious to 
— to feel at home, if I get a chance to go" — 

The little man broke into a cough here, and 
finished his sentence by pointing a tiny finger 
toward the sky. 

Seating myself beside him, I put him a few 
questions with a view to finding out his knowl- 
edge of the Catechism. I was really astonished 
at his answers. 

" Willie," I said presently, " if you die, do 
you know who is to be your Judge? 

11 Jesus Christ." His voice sank into a rever- 
ential whisper. 



A Young Hypocrite. 67 

" And wouldn't it be nice were you to receive 
Him, now that you are alive, into your heart — 
not as your Judge, but as your dearest Friend, as 
your fondest Lover, as the Author of all grace? ' 

Willie sat bolt upright, and his face flushed 
into the semblance of joyous health. 

i( O Father," he cried, " do you mean to say 
that I can make my First Communion? 

" I do, Willie." 

" Me, a little bit of a fellow only eight years 
old? " 

" That's just what I mean. If you were 
well, it would be different. But Our Lord is 
very, very good, and He loves His little ones 
more than we can imagine: and when they 
won't grow up to receive Him, He is glad to 
come to them beforehand. He can make them 
very happy; and so, Willie, you must get ready 
now for the happiest day of your life." 

" When shall it be, Father? " 

" Let me see: to-day is Monday. Suppose 
we say next Friday. It is the first Friday, the 
day of all the month when the Sacred Heart is 
most generous." 

The little lad sank back upon his pillow, and 
his wan face, still touched with the flush, spoke 
exceeding happiness. 



68 A Young Hypocrite. 

il Here," I continued, handing him the badge 
of the Sacred Heart, " wear this, my dear boy." 

He took the badge, pressed it tenderly to his 
lips, and then blushed for his want of reticence. 
In the matter of piety, American boys are reti- 
cent; thereby hangs many a tale, many a sad 
misunderstanding. 

" Now, Willie," I continued, " wear that on 
your bosom, and ask the Sacred Heart to cure 
you. 

11 I'd rather not, Father; not just yet, Father. 
Please, Father, not just yet." 

" Why? Do you wish to die? 

" I don't care for that, Father; but I don't 
want to be cured ; I want to make my First 
Communion." 

There was a boy for you! He feared, not 
entirely without reason, that were he to recover, 
he would be obliged to wait for several years 
before receiving his God. 

I checked a smile, gave him my blessing, and 
departed. 

For half an hour on Tuesday, Wednesday, 
and Thursday I visited my eager little friend, 
and explained to him the great Sacrament of 
love. He was an apt pupil, and so sweet and 
reverential was his face, that as I spoke I felt 



A Young Hypocrite. 69 

my own heart burn with love for Him who had 
won so sweetly the affection of this innocent 
child. 

Once or twice it seemed to me that Willie was 
growing better. I expressed this opinion to 
him on Thursday. Willie at once became ex- 
ceedingly disturbed. 

" Oh, Father, is there any danger of my get- 
ting well? 

" There is no immediate danger," I answered 
gravely. 

Then I heard the little fellow's confession, 
and left the room feeling as though I had been 
walking with God. 

On Friday morning I came with the Blessed 
Sacrament. Willie looked troubled, fearful, as 
he kneeled beside his bed. 

u Father, I can't do it." 

" Why?" 

" I — I'm a hypocrite, Father; it's no use." 
The little man's eyes filled with tears. 

" What's your trouble, Willie? " 

Father, everything is wrong. I'm getting 
well — I know I am. I knew it yesterday. The 
doctor said I was out of danger; and I — I conldnt 
tell you. The Sister said I didn't have to. 
Oh, it's too bad! I do wish I was dying." 



7<d A Young Hypocrite. 

ft Willie, listen to me," I said sternly. " You 
may possibly be out of danger; but it is not cer- 
tain. The doctor is not so sure as he makes out 
to be; I've seen him myself. Now say a little 
prayer. I tell you, in the name of Our Lord, 
that He wishes to come to you now." 

Willie was obedient. His trouble was gone 
at once, and a few minutes later the eyes w 7 ere 
closed, and the little hands clasped, and the 
radiant soul in that sweetest commune given to 
mortal man. 

Willie's apprehensions were just; he did re- 
cover, and bore the affliction quite cheerfully. 
Indeed, once he had made his First Communion, 
he prayed to that end. 

To-day Willie is as rosy of cheek and as round 
of limb as any boy is expected to be. He is 
now captain of the " Flyaway Club ' of St. 
Joseph's College. 

Whenever I meet him I salute him with, 
11 Hallo! little hypocrite." 

Willie laughs gayly; and the boys, who revere 
him as a little saint, wonder what I mean. 



Qnv Mestern Malts, 

" Oh, come let us worship! " sang a little lad 
at the head of the surpliced choir-boys, as they 
marched in solemn, stately procession up the 
deserted centre aisle of St. Paul's Episcopal 
Cathedral. His notes were clear, low, full, and 
golden. 

" Oh, come let us worship! " he repeated in 
a rich alto to the silvery voice of the solo soprano 
who walked beside him. 

" Oh, come let us worship Christ the Lord! " 
chorused forth twenty pure, fresh voices; and 
the stately pile rang with that sacred melody, 
which, when uttered by childish trebles, is, per- 
haps, the nearest approach to the singing of the 
angels that can charm mortal ear. 

Softly the chorus died away, as the procession 
moved into the vestry, where, presto ! these 
pseudo-angels became very real boys, and doffed 
their surplices with all the varied and inexhausti- 
ble accompaniments that animal spirits so lightly 

create. 

71 



72 Our Western Waits. 

" Hasn't Harry Conway come, sir?" inquired 
he of the golden alto, appealing to Mr. Gibson, 
the choir director. 

" No, Willie; it's the first time he failed to 
be on hand." 

" It's too bad," commented Willie. " We've 
but three quarters of an hour to have our last 
rehearsal of those Christmas carols, and without 
Harry we'll feel lost. What a gay voice he has! 
It's the prettiest soprano I ever heard." 

li Yes," assented Mr. Gibson warmly; li and 
his disposition is as charming as his voice. He's 
an honor to his Church, too. You remember, 
when I asked him to help us out in our Christ- 
mas singing, how he answered modestly that he 
wouldn't do so because he was a Catholic. His 
manner was good, and his answer showed char- 
acter." 

" Well, boys," continued Willie, " we'll have 
to get along without Harry. Even as it is, 
we'll barely have time to run through our carols. ' ' 

And in the fulness of the Christmas spirit 
these animated music-boxes gave themselves to 
their singing with a zest; and, for the brief time 
allotted them, charmed the air with the sweet 
and simple melodies of Noel. 

But Harry Conway was not charmed into 



Our Western Waits. 73 

appearing; and so when the choristers had 
resolved themselves into the regulation small 
boy, with his shout, hop, and a jump, Willie 
Simms leaped upon his pony and cantered off 
toward the outskirts of the town. 

His acquaintance with Harry Conway, whom 
he had met but four times, had come about in 
this way: Willie's father, desirous of reviving 
ancient Christmas customs, had presented the 
surpliced choir a number of old English carols, 
with the understanding that the singers were to 
have them ready for a parlor concert on the 
afternoon of Christmas. How he happened 
upon Harry Conway Willie knew not; but Mr. 
Simms it was who, on their meeting for their 
third rehearsal, had introduced Harry to them, 
a modest, decently clad boy, with a voice such 
as none of them, accustomed as they were to 
beautiful sounds, had ever heard. Willie was at 
once taken with the sunny-faced soprano, and 
their brief acquaintance had already ripened into 
a sort of intimacy. 

Very shortly Willie drew rein before the house 
which bore the address Harry had given him. 
It was a modest structure indeed; and he gazed 
upon it not without some feeling of dismay. 

Poor Harry! " he muttered as he threw the 



74 Our Wester ?i Waits. 

reins over his pony's neck and leaped to the 
ground. " I didn't imagine his people were so 
badly off." 

His knock was answered by a little girl, a 
beautiful child, with signs of subdued grief upon 
her expressive features. 

" Is Harry Conway home? 

" Yes, sir," answered the little miss, her eyes 
filling as she spoke; li and, oh my! how I wish 
he wasn't! He started to go to singing practice 
this afternoon, and just as he got outside our 
gate he slipped on the sidewalk and broke his 
arm." 

The little girl put her hand over her eyes and 
choked and gurgled in an unsuccessful attempt 
to restrain her feelings. A loud, rough voice 
from within broke upon the awkward pause. 
These were the words that Willie caught: 

" Understand, ma'am, I'm not practising 
medicine for amusement. It's business. I've 
a family to support, and I don't know you from 
Adam; so next time I come I'd like you to 
settle." 

Whereupon there was the banging of a door, 
and with heavy strides the author of these cruel 
words clattered down the staircase, and rudely 
brushing aside the two little ones, hurried away. 



Our Wester?i Waits. 75 

" Can I see him? " asked Willie, with the hot 
blood rushing to his cheeks at this his first ex- 
perience of the trials of poverty. 

il I'll ask mamma, sir; aren't you Willie 
Simms? 

" Yes," answered Willie. 

" Oh, I'm so glad! Harry's told me all about 
you. And he likes you that much " — the little 
maiden spread her arms as far apart as they 
could go. 

" He told me so himself," she continued, 
smiling through her tears. " My name is Mary, 
and I'm his sister. Don't I look like him? He 
says we're twins; only, you know, he's three 
years older, and so I think he must be joking. 
Ah! here's mamma. Mamma, this is Willie 
Simms, the boy that Harry likes that much " — 
and Mary repeated the expressive gesture. 

The thin, pale-faced woman who stood before 
him wore, despite her surroundings, the air of a 
lady. Grief and poverty had not banished from 
her mild face an unmistakable touch of refine- 
ment. 

il Come in, Willie," she said cordially. " I 
am indeed glad to meet one who has been so 
kind to my little boy. He seems to have suf- 
fered more from being compelled to disappoint 



76 Our Wester 71 Waits. 

your good father and yourself than from his 
broken arm. Come upstairs." 

She ushered him into a little room, so scant, 
yet so tidy in its appointments, where upon his 
bed of pain lay Harry. While the two lads were 
exchanging greetings, Mrs. Conway withdrew; 
and even before she had shut herself without — 
so quick of growth are boyish intimacies — these 
two had developed into the warmest of friends. 
God be thanked for it, that young hearts are so 
innocent and so warm. 

11 Willie," said Harry, as the door closed, 
" did you hear that doctor talking ? Ah! I see 
you did. Well, poor mamma has to stand that 
kind of thing pretty often now. It's been going 
on for over three weeks. Would you like to 
hear the story? " 

By way of answer Willie seated himself on the 
edge of the bed and caught the unbandaged 
hand in a warm clasp. 

" Well, last summer papa went out somewhere 
in the Rockies to do some business and to col- 
lect a big lot of money that a man out there 
owed him. He was to be back in a month; but 
we didn't even get a letter. Weeks and weeks 
went on without a word. Last October mamma 
ran out of money, and we began to get in debt. 



Our Western Waits. 77 

November came, and mamma had to take in 
sewing — there are three of us children, and I am 
the oldest — and then, Willie — oh! she's such a 
good mother — she nearly starved and killed her- 
self to keep us comfortable, and just asked us to 
keep on praying for papa's return. Do you 
remember the day that I came to your rehearsal 
first? " 

"Yes, indeed," answered gentle - hearted 
Willie, mastering his voice sufficiently to speak. 

" On that morning a letter reached us which 
had been wrongly directed and had been travel- 
ling all over the country. It was dated Novem- 
ber 4th, and came from an inn-keeper in a 
Colorado village, who wrote us that my father 
had died from effects of exposure, and that he 
had hardly enough with him to pay his ex- 
penses." 

Willie put his handkerchief to his eyes, not 
trusting himself to speak; and for a few moments 
there was silence. 

11 That's all the letter told us; it didn't even 
give any address. As soon as I heard the news 
I went down town and tried to get work to help 
poor mamma. Then I heard of your father's 
plan to get up those Christmas carols, and I 
know it was very bold, but I went and told him 



78 Our Western Waits. 

part of my story, and offered to sing for him if 
he would give me a little money for my mamma's 
Christmas. And he was so kind; he made me 
sing a little, and seemed to be much pleased, 
and said he'd engage me and give me twenty 
dollars on Christmas. And, Willie, you've no 
notion how I've been looking forward to that 
money. It would give mamma a new start." 

He added in a whisper: 

" Willie, she's pawned nearly all her own 
little articles to keep me and my two sisters in 
everything we want. She doesn't think I know 
it, but I do. And now everything is wrong. 
I'm afraid I won't be able to sing to-morrow; 
and I'm so sorry. I won't take a cent, Willie, 
if I can't sing." 

" Then you'll sing," said Willie with decision. 
li We'll wrap you up, and send our closed car- 
riage after you; and you'll not catch a bit of 
cold, and — and — say; you wouldn't object to 
an Episcopalian boy's praying for you, would 
your 

" Object ! " cried Harry, opening his blue 
eyes to their widest. " You couldn't please me 
better." 

" Well, I'll pray; and you'll sing to-morrow. 
Now good-by, Harry; I've got an idea." 



Our Western Waits. 79 

Willie, as he spoke, was gazing out of the 
window; the snow was falling in large, heavy 
flakes, and the ground was already mantled in 
white. 

He dashed home at a mad gallop, his little 
brain awhirl with a novel scheme. 

. " Mamma," he burst out, as he joined the 
family at dinner, " I've an awful favor to ask of 
you." 

Mamma smiled. 

" Will you loan me our big sleigh? I want to 
give our singers a ride; it's the first snow this 
winter, and — mamma, I've got an idea." 

What mother is not pleased at her darling's 
having an idea? That assertion turned the 
doubtful scales in Willie's favor; and an hour 
later the bells jingled merrily as he drove forth 
in state along the principal residence street, 
pausing at various houses to gather in his glee- 
singers. 

Presently the sleigh had become a crowded 
mass of mirth-bubbling juvenility. There liter- 
ally wasn't room enough for one more when 
Charlie Edwards, the twentieth of the midgets, 
squeezed himself in. 

" Now, boys," began Willie, using his golden 
voice to some purpose, so as to be heard above 



80 Our Western Waits. 

the bustle inevitable to the massing together of 
a score of small boys, " listen one minute." 

All saw that Willie had something of impor- 
tance to communicate; besides, the sleigh was 
his, so they listened. 

Willie narrated briefly the story of Harry Con- 
way ; he spoke in simple boy language, but the 
effect was better than that of many a glowing 
oration. 

" What'll we do for Harry? ' queried the 
silver-toned soprano. 

" Do? Why, we'll become Christmas waits," 
answered Willie. " We'll go round, and give 
our friends all the music we know, and then 
we'll pass round the hat." 

" Hurrah! " piped the trebles. 

" Now, boys, where'll we go first? 

" Mr. Gibson's! Mr. Gibson's! " came the cry 
pitched away up in the high leger-lines. Mr. 
Gibson was a great favorite with the little ones; 
wherefore it is unnecessary to spend words in 
praise of that kind, good man. 

11 All right. Get up! " and Willie cracked his 
whip. " Now, boys, let's tune up." 

" How's our sleighing song to start on? " 
asked silver-voice. 

11 Just the thing." 



Our Western Waits, 81 

Brightly their voices broke upon the air; and 
as they dashed on thus gayly, leaving in their 
wake a following of sweet sounds, men and 
women, smiling and waving their hands, came 
hurrying out of doors, and in the pretty ways 
which fall upon people instinctively at Christmas- 
tide, sent the choristers off in an added exhilara- 
tion of youthful spirits. 

Scarcely was their song ended, when Willie 
brought the horses to a pause before the resi- 
dence of Mr. Gibson. 

" Now, boys, gently," whispered Willie. 
" We must take him by surprise. We'll steal 
up the walk, and get under the window. Then 

we'll give him, ' God rest you, merry gentle- 

> > > 
men. 

Lightly these " mamma's darlings" tiptoed 
their way to the spot beneath the well-known 
window; and as Willie passed around their 
parts, they seemed to hold their very breaths, 
while their eyes blazed with excitement, and 
their features were screwed into that most com- 
ical expression yet discovered on boy faces — 
mysterious solemnity. Willie struck his tuning- 
fork, put it to his ear, then, humming for a 
moment, gave each voice its proper note. Clear 
and low and sweet rose the first strains, clearer, 



82 Our Western Waits. 

louder, sweeter swelled the harmony, while each 
vocalist fixed his eyes upon the familiar window 
above, and carolled away not unlike a little bird 
in full-flown rapture of song. 

il In Bethlehem in Jewry," continued the 
warblers, as no smiling face at the window re- 
warded their first stanza: 

" This Blessed Babe was born 
And laid within a manger 
Upon this blessed morn — " 

At the word " morn " the window flew up, the 
loved face beamed down upon them, and thus 
encouraged the waits burst into full voice with — 

" The which His Mother Mary 
Did nothing take in scorn: 
O tidings of comfort and joy!" 

" Hats off!' said Willie. Every hat was 
doffed. " Ready — charge!" 

Without further ado the boys flew up the 
steps, ascended the staircase, and crowded into 
Mr. Gibson's room. 

" Present hats! " continued the leader. 

At the word twenty smiling lads hemmed in 
the puzzled, delighted old gentleman, each try 
ing to get his hat into the most prominent place. 

" Now," continued Willie, " before you put 
anything in, listen to our story." 



Our Western Waits. 83 

And Willie repeated Harry Conway's tale. 

The old gentleman was touched, and acted as 
old gentlemen do when they are touched: he 
blew his nose, and made pretence of having 
something in his eye. 

" I'm proud of every one of you," he said 
warmly; " and I'm glad you came to me first — 
flattered, too. Hold your hats higher." 

Into each he threw a silver q.uarter till he 
came to Willie's, where he contributed a dollar 
gold coin. 

11 The quarters are for the singing," he said, 
" and the gold is for Harry Conway. Now, no 
thanks — sh-h — I've got something to say. Don't 
— now mind this — don't tell Harry's story to 
everybody. They are poor at his house and in 
want; but they are sensitive, too. There is such 
a thing as killing by kindness, when the kind- 
ness is indelicate. Now, I propose this to you. 
With the four or five dollars I've given you, 
suppose you buy a lot of nice things for Harry 
and his sisters, as a Christmas gift. As to what 
other money you may gather in, that you might 
offer to Harry as a loan, which he can pay off 
himself by doing some concert-singing for us now 
and then." 

There was a musical buzz of satisfaction. 



84 Our Western Waits. 

"Thank you very much, Mr. Gibson," said 
Willie; " you're so thoughtful! I'd have surely 
made a mess of it if it hadn't been for 
you. 

" Now, my little friends, I'll give you another 
hint. In twenty minutes the way-train will be 
in from Chicago, and all your people who do 
business in the city and a great many mammas 
who have gone shopping will return on it ; they 
come home early, as it's Christmas eve. Sup- 
pose you get yourselves in position just around 
the corner on Adams street, near the station. 
I'll go with you myself. You do the singing; 
I'll act as manager." 

"Thank you, sir!" — "O Mr. Gibson!"— 
these and other expressions of thanks might have 
gone on indefinitely had not Willie ordered all 
out. Mr. Gibson was presently with them in 
coat and muffler, and in a trice the impossible 
was done — that is, all did squeeze into the 
sleigh, packed together like so many sardines, 
and jingled along merrily to the tune of their 
sleighing chorus. 

As the depot was at a considerable distance 
from Mr. Gibson's house, the enthusiastic young- 
sters enlivened the ride with the songs they had 
intended for him from the start. From the 



Our Western Waits, 85 

mournful calm of the " Holly and the Ivy " they 
went on to, 

"Listen, Lordings, unto me, a tale I will you tell." 

Of this quaint carol they sang stanza after 
stanza till they ceased with the beautiful quatrain, 
the truth of which they so little understood: 

"Onward, then, the angels sped, the shepherds onward 
went; 
God was in His manger bed, in worship low they bent: 
In the morning see ye mind, my masters one and all, 
At the Attar Him to find, who lay within the stall." 

11 Now," said Mr. Gibson, as they came within 
sight of the depot, ll you've but three minutes 
left. I'll go meet the train, and gather your 
friends." 

" Look, look! ' : cried Willie, as, music in 
hand, all stood watching the train steaming into 
the depot; "what a crowd! " 

"Oh!" exclaimed several, dismayed at the 
wave of people rolling toward them. 

11 It's too late to back out," remarked silver- 
voice; " but let's take something we know 
well." 

" Noel, then," punned Willie. 

" Noel's the prettiest, too," added a third. 

As the crowd drew nearer and resolved itself 



86 Our Western Waits. 

into smiling papas, mammas, uncles, sisters, and 
friends, with here and there a strange though 
not unkindly face, they plucked up heart of 
grace, and into the sweetness of the words 
throwing the sweetness of their voices, and that 
indescribable gift of the child-soul, that dear 
gift of God's, which the mother, gazing into the 
eyes of her little one, catches in its fulness, they 
poured forth the glad song of Noel. 

Cheered on by kindly words and loving glances, 
the little fellows went from melody to melody 
till the place was filled with the spirit of olden 
time Christmas, till mothers wiped their eyes, 
till fathers opened big packages, and threw into 
Willie's sleigh all manner of pretty gifts. 
* * * -x- •& 

When Willie and silver-voice, two hours later, 
drew up at Mrs. Conway's, they rivalled the 
postman himself in the matter of packages, as 
they toiled up the steps. The postman re- 
marked this as he followed them to the door and 
handed Mrs. Conway a letter. 

How Willie contrived to present his gifts in so 
delicate a manner as to bring tears of joy to 
Mrs. Conway's eyes is beyond my power of re- 
production. But I suspect that he had been 
coached by kind Mr. Gibson. 



Our Western Waits. 87 

Willie and silver-voice were soon seated beside 
Harry, and were prattling away in all the glow 
of warm feelings, when Mrs. Conway entered the 
room with the letter. 

" Harry, more good news! I have received 
an account of your papa's death. He died, 
happily, prepared, and his last words were mes- 
sages of love to you and me." 

" Thank God, he died prepared! " said Harry. 
' He had appointed a lawyer to take charge 
of his business just before he took sick; the 
lawyer didn't know your father had died till a 
week ago. He contrived to get all the details 
of his last moments, and now sends them to me. 
Besides, he sends me the money your father 
went out to collect. So now we are safe, my 
dear. We have enough and to spare." 

11 Just think," exclaimed Willie, "I've brought 
more than twenty dollars to lend Harry; and 
now I might as well throw it away! ' 

" If you don't know what to do with it, Wil- 
lie," suggested Mrs. Conway, " you might help 
on some of the very poor people in the village." 

On Christmas, accordingly, the young choris- 
ters made the rounds again; but this time they 
repaired to the houses of the lowly. Over and 
over they sang their carols, and left each humble 



88 Our Western Waits. 

home richer, happier for their singing and their 
gifts to the little ones. 

Indeed, it was a happy day. But to Willie 
the Christmas that followed was far happier. 

For during the 365 days that lay between cor- 
dial relations sprang up between the Simms and 
Conway families; and when it came out in a con- 
versation one day that Mrs. Conway and Mrs. 
Simms were New Englanders, and when both 
began raking up old records, you can guess how 
it all ended. They were fifth cousins or some- 
thing. It's always that way out West. Let 
two New Englanders get to comparing notes, 
and in five minutes they'll establish an impedi- 
ment to their intermarriage which no casuistry 
may distinguish away. 

Christmas, when it came again, was, as I said, 
particularly joyful to Willie, not because they 
all made the musical rounds again, and brought 
down the earnest blessings of God's poor upon 
themselves. That was joyful indeed; these little 
lads were still closely united, though Willie had 
become a fervent Catholic. Their union lasts to 
this day, and it is three years since Willie's con- 
version. Willie and Harry love these small 
Episcopalians, and knowing that it is possible 
for outsiders to belong to the soul of the true 



Our Western Waits. 89 

Church, earnestly hold that all their little friends 
are Catholics too. 

But that first Christmas after his conversion! 
Then came the happiest moment of his life, 
when, standing beside Harry, his fellow-singer in 
the Catholic choir, in his golden voice, celestial 
for the fervor that informed it, he sang Venite 
Adoremus, while his loved father and mother 
advanced to the altar railing to receive for the 
first time Him, sweet Babe of Bethlehem, who 
had descended from the skies and become our 
God Incarnate. 



Ube Xegenb on tbe 3Locfeet 

I WAS in my first sleep when the sound of the 
door-bell awakened me, whereupon I sprang from 
my bed, and, after a few hurried preparations, 
hastened to throw open the door. 

It was a bitter cold night in January, and 
without the moon threw its pale light over the 
wan and spectral snow-covered landscape. The 
sharp gust that swept into the hall as I opened 
the door made me pity the delicate-looking child 
who stood at the threshold. 

Her hair gleamed with a strange and rare 
effect in the moonlight, long golden hair that fell 
in graceful ripples about her shoulders. She 
was lightly dressed, this little child, as she stood 
gazing straight and frankly into my eyes with an 
expression at once so beautiful and calm and 
earnest that I shall never forget it. 

Her face was very pale, her complexion of the 

fairest. The radiancy about her hair seemed to 

glow in some weird yet indescribable fashion 

upon her every feature. 

90 



The Legend on the Locket 9 1 

These details I had not fairly taken in when 
she addressed me: 

" Father, can you come with me at once? 
My mother is dying, and she is in trouble." 

" Come inside, my little girl," I said, " and 
warm yourself. You must be half frozen." 

" Indeed, Father, I am not in the least cold." 
I had thrown on my coat and hat as she made 
answer. 

" Your mother's name, my child? ' 

" Catharine Morgan, Father; she's a widow, 
and has lived like a saint. And now that she's 
dying, she is in awful trouble. She was taken 
sick about a few hours ago." 

" Where does she live? " 

" Two miles from here, Father, on the border 
of the Great Swamp; she is a stranger in these 
parts, and alone. I know the way perfectly; 
you need not be afraid of getting lost." 

A few minutes later we were tramping through 
the snow, or rather I was tramping; for the child 
beside me moved with so light and tender a 
step, that had there been flowers instead of 
snow-flakes beneath our feet I do not think a 
single petal would have been crushed under the 
airy fall of her fairy feet. 

Her hand was in mine with the confiding clasp 



92 The Legend on the Locket. 

of childhood. Her face, for all the trouble that 
was at home, wore a gravely serene air, such as 
is seldom seen in years of sprightly, youthful 
innocence. 

How beautiful she looked! more like a crea- 
ture fresh from the perfect handiwork of God 
than one who walked in the valley of sin, and 
sorrow, and trouble, and death. 

Upon her bosom I observed a golden locket 
fashioned in the shape of a heart. 

She noticed my glance, and with a quick 
movement of her fingers released the locket and 
handed it to me. 

" It's a heart," I said. 

" Read what's on it, Father." 

il I can't, my little friend; my eyes are very 
good, but are not equal to making out reading 
on gold lockets by moonlight." 

" Just let me hold it for you, Father — now 
look." 

How this mite contrived, I cannot say; but 
certain it is, that at once, as she held the locket 
at a certain angle, there stood out clearly, em- 
bossed upon its surface, the legend — 

" Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me." 

lt Mamma placed that upon my bosom one 
year ago, when I was very sick, Father." And 



The Legend on the Locket, 93 

kissing the locket, the child restored it to its 
place. 

We went on for a time in silence. I carried 
the Blessed Sacrament with me; and, young as 
she was, the girl seemed to appreciate the fact. 
Whenever I glanced at her, I observed her lips 
moving as in prayer, and her eyes seemed, in 
very truth, fixed upon the place where rested in 
His sacramental veil the Master of Life and of 
Death. 

Suddenly the girl's hand touched my sleeve — 
oh, so gently ! 

" This is the place, Father," she said in soft 
tones that thrilled me as they broke upon the 
stillness; and she pointed to a little hut standing 
back in the dim shadows of three pine-trees. 

I pushed open the door, which hung loosely 
upon its hinges", and turned to wait her en- 
trance. She was gone. Somewhat startled, I 
was peering out into the pallid night, when a 
groan called me to the bedside of the dying 
woman. 

A glance told me there was no time to lose. 
The woman lying in that room had hardly 
reached middle life, but the hand of Death had 
touched her brow, upon which stood the drops 
of sweat, and in her face I read a great trouble. 



94 The Legend on the Locket. 

I was at her side in an instant; and, God be 
thanked for it, soon calmed .and quieted the poor 
creature. She made her confession, and in sen- 
timents of faith and love such as I have rarely 
seen received the Last Sacraments of the Church. 

Standing beside her, I suggested those little 
prayers and devices so sweet and consoling at 
the dread hour. I noticed as the time passed 
on that her eyes frequently turned toward a 
little box at the farther end of the room. 

" Shall I bring you that box? " I asked. 

She nodded assent. 

On placing it beside her, she opened it with 
trembling hands and took out the dress of a 
child. 

" Your little daughter's dress? " I said. 

She whispered, and there was love in her 
tones: " My darling Edith's." 

" I know her," I continued. " She 'brought 
me here, you know." 

I stopped short and caught my breath. The 
woman half rose in her bed ; she looked at me 
in wonder that cannot be expressed. I, no less 
amazed, was staring at a golden, heart-shaped 
locket fastened to the bosom of the child's dress 
which the woman was holding in her hands. 

" Madam," I cried, " in the name of God, tell 



The Legend on the Locket. 95 

me, where is your daughter? Whose is that, 
locket? " 

" The locket is Edith's. I placed it here on 
the bosom of her dress when my little girl lay 
dying a year ago. The last thing my darling 
did was to hold this locket to her lips, and say : 

i Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with meS 

She died a year ago." 

Then the mother's face grew very sweet and 
very radiant. 

Still holding the locket in her hands, she fixed 
her eyes straight before her. 

'* Edith, my dear Edith, we are at last to be 
united in the Sacred Heart. I see you, my dar- 
ling: ' Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me.' 

Her voice faded with the last syllable into 
silence. 

Edith and she were again united. 



/ 



Because 1be %oveb ZlDucb, 

Mr. MURDOCK happened to be in the sacristy 
of the students' chapel one morning, early in 
October, when his attention was aroused by the 
muffled fall of stealthy footsteps in the chapel 
itself. 

The footsteps were light and springy; conse- 
quently, they were the footsteps of youth. But 
there was no haste, no clatter, no spontaneity in 
their sound; consequently, argued Mr. Murdock, 
they were to be regarded with suspicion. Small 
boys, when they make a morning visit to the 
Blessed Sacrament, enter quickly and with a firm 
tread. This boy, if sounds go for anything, was 
sneaking in. Mr. Murdock was a prefect; and 
the instincts of a prefect were aroused. 

As it happened, the sacristy door, opening 

into the sanctuary, stood ajar; yet so slightly 

that a person within could see the length of the 

chapel without being himself seen. Glancing 

06 



Because He Loved Much. 97 

through this opening, Mr. Murdock saw a very 
small boy bearing in both his hands a very large 
bouquet, and advancing gingerly straight up the 
middle aisle. 

To make matters more mysterious, the 
youth's face was effectually concealed by the 
flowers; while his knickerbockers were not suffi- 
ciently out of the common to give any clue to 
his identity. 

Meantime, like an apparition, the seemingly 
headless youth glided onward till he passed the 
sanctuary railing and reached the foot of the 
altar. There he paused, and lowering the flow- 
ers, took a good view of the chapel. If he were 
about to perpetrate some terrible crime he could 
not have looked guiltier. Mr. Murdock gave a 
gasp as the boy's face became revealed to him. 
He gave another as the youngster, under the 
impression that the coast was clear, ascended 
the steps and placed the bouquet directly upon 
the altar stone. To place flowers there was bad 
rubrics, but it was not this that made Mr. Mur- 
dock stare and gasp. 

Freed of his flowers, the recent apparition now 
went through a performance which, while show- 
ing further ignorance of rubrics, evinced also 
that he was a skilled and observant acolyte. 



98 Because He Loved Much. 

Spreading his hands upon the altar, he stooped, 
kissed it, and with his hands still in the same 
position genuflected — a priestly mode of genu- 
flection, it is well to observe, not allowed even 
to deacons of the Catholic Church. 

" Is the boy going to turn round next, and 
say ' Domimis vobisciun? ' ' muttered the aston- 
ished teacher. 

And indeed it looked as though that were to 
be the youth's next proceeding; for he actually 
did turn around. However, it was merely to 
take another full-length view of the chapel. 
Satisfied with this second inspection, he hurried 
down the altar steps, and clattered out of the 
chapel, leaving behind him one of the most 
astonished teachers that ever taught the Second 
Academic. 

No wonder Mr. Murdock was astonished. 
The whole proceeding had been unusual. But 
furthermore, and above all, the youth who had 
thus acted was John Harding, the laziest, the 
idlest, the most hopelessly incorrigible boy of 
his class. 

Mr. Murdock went away in deep thought. 
When themes were collected in the morning, 
John Harding's was the only one wanting. 
When compositions were collected in the after- 



Because He Loved Micch* 99 

noon, John Harding's was not among the num- 
ber. 

" What's the matter, Johnnie?'" asked Mr. 
Murdock. 

" Nothing, sir; I guess I'll have to go jug- 
ging; that's all." 

" Oh, of course; you go to jug this afternoon 
for the whole hour. It's shameful; you're worse 
now than you were the first week." 

" That's so, sir," answered John with a grin. 
11 But I'm willing to take my medicine." And 
John grinned again. 

This grin would have kindled anger in many 
a young teacher. It seemed to say, tl I don't 
care; and what are you going to do about it? ' 
But Mr. Murdock had learned that certain boys 
assume a defiant grin when they are glad, angry, 
sorry, pouting — in fact, when they are in any 
mood where facial expression suits their purpose 
better than words. So when John grinned in 
this aggravating style, the teacher did not burst 
into a rage, but smiled in return. 

"I wonder whether he wants to defy me," 
was his inward comment. " I can't make out 
his smile yet. Well, patience." 

John Harding did not even flounder through 
his lessons that day. He was almost dumb. 



ioo Because He Loved Much. 

" Don't know, sir," was the only answer he 
volunteered to Mr. Murdock's attempt at ex- 
tracting information from him. 

When the bell rang for dismissal of studies, a 
delegation of the Second Academic waited on 
Mr. Murdock. 

" Mr. Murdock," said their leader, " we're 
going to play the First Academic boys a game 
of base-ball this afternoon." 

" Well, I'm sorry for you. You're going to 
be beaten." 

" We're afraid so too, sir. You see, Johnnie 
Harding is our catcher. There's not another 
boy below Poetry Class that can hold Jack Rob- 
inson's curves." 

" Oh, pshaw! " remonstrated long, slim Jack 
Robinson, blushing till his face and hair came 
within a little of matching colors. Jack was 
modest, and quiet, and studious, and brave\ and 
red-headed. 

" Now, sir," continued the speaker, " couldn't 
you please let Johnnie off? 

" Yes, sir; please do," cried the chorus, led 
by Jack. 

"I'm sorry, my boys; but I don't see my 
way to it. If Johnnie could give me an ex- 
cuse — " 



Because He Loved Much. 101 

" I haven't got any excuse, sir; and I don't 
deserve to be let off," broke in John. 

The boys were so amazed that they hurried 
from the room. 

Nothing like this had ever happened in the 
history of John Harding. It was that youth's 
habit to attempt begging off jug five days out of 
the five class days of each week. If begging 
failed, Johnnie would sulk, would growl, would 
threaten to " leave this old jail-school for good," 
in short, would go on protesting and begging 
and promising so long as his professor was 
pleased to listen. 

Mr. Murdock, alone with John, gazed at him 
in surprise. Suddenly the incident of the morn- 
ing returned in all its vividness. 

lt Johnnie, I saw you go into the chapel this 
morning,," 

Johnnie turned pale. 

" You did, sir?" 

" I did." 

" With that flower collection? " 

" Yes." 

" You — you didn't tell any one you saw me> 
did you? " 

" Not a soul, Johnnie." 

" And you please won't, sir ? " 



102 Because He Loved Much. 

il Certainly not, if you wish it. Where did 
you get those flowers? " 

Johnnie paused a moment; then, looking his 
teacher straight in the eye, said : 

" I hooked 'em, sir. " 

" What?" 

" Oh, it wasn't so bad; they were my sister's. 
One of those dudes that comes to see her gave 
them to her, and I knew she wouldn't care 
much. Anyhow, she took one of my ties last 
week. If I've got anything she wants, she just 
takes it. She's a graduate from a convent 
school, sir; I intend to tell her to-night when I 
get home, and if she howls, I don't care, any- 
how." 

<J But what put it into your head to take 
those flowers? 

" It's this way, sir. You know I've been 
doing bad in class ever since the beginning of 
the year. I've been acting through pure cussed- 
ness — that is, sir, I mean I've been obstinate. 
I wanted to go to boarding-school, and mamma 
wouldn't hear of it. So I made up my mind 
not to study, out of spite. It's pretty easy to 
keep a resolution like that, sir." 

Again Johnnie grinned. 

" Is it really easy? " asked Mr. Murdock. 



Because He Loved Much. 103 

" Well, I thought it was till I began to prepare 
for our monthly confession last Saturday night. 
Then it came upon me all of a sudden that I 
wasn't doing my duty, and that if I didn't pull 
up short I'd go wrong." 

" And yet though to-day is Monday, and you 
went to confession last Saturday, you did not 
study at all for to-day? 

st Yes, sir; it's just awful. I went to confes- 
sion Saturday, and came out with my mind 
made up to study if I had to break a leg. I 
went to Communion Sunday, and I tell you, sir, 
I felt as if I'd made a good one. Sunday night 
I got out my books to study, when two or three 
of the fellows came in. Well, the next thing I 
got fooling with them, and we had an awful 
good time. It was great, sir; we had a regular 
circus performance, and when we got through I 
was so tired that I couldn't see. I went to bed 
intending to get up at six this morning to study, 
and I asked mamma to call me. Well, she 
called me all right, but I was so lazy I went to 
sleep again, and didn't get up till breakfast; but, 
wheugh ! didn't I feel mean. I had promised 
Our Lord at Communion that I was going to 
study for Him and had broken my word. I felt 
like doing something. I saw that bouquet in 



104 Because He Loved Much. 

Eleanor's room, and just grabbed it and sneaked 
off. And 1 made up my mind, sir, that I 
wouldn't make any excuse to you or beg off. 
I was awfully ashamed." 

Mr. Murdock paused for a moment. 

" Johnnie, you broke your word to Our 
Lord; but you apologized. Don't you think 
He has let you off ? 

" Yes, sir, I do," was the unhesitating answer. 

" Well, I can do no better than imitate Him. 
I'll let you off too." 

" But, Mr. Murdock, you know after a person 
has been forgiven he may still need a little tem- 
poral pain — like the souls in purgatory." 

" Not if a person loves much," answered the 
older theologian. " Hurry off now to that ball 
— no; wait for me. I'll go along with you." 

" Will you shout for us, sir ? " exclaimed the 
delighted purloiner of flowers. 

" I'll give you my moral support." 

After that interview Johnnie was wont of a 
morning to steal into the chapel and place upon 
the side of the altar a bunch of flowers. He did 
fairly well in class, too; so well that he was not 
seen in jug more than twice a week. 

But very soon the season came when flowers 
were scarce and fallen leaves plentiful. 



Because He Loved Much. 105 

Then Mr. Murdock said: 

" Johnnie, let the flowers go for the present; 
but every morning when you come to school, go 
and tell Our Lord how many lessons you know. 
Tell Him you know them for Him, and that 
each lesson is a flower." 

Then Johnnie smiled radiantly. 

" I'll do it, sir." And he kept his word. 

From that day Johnnie " went jugging " no 
more. 



Uhc Butt of the School. 

I. 

St. Francis College had just let out, and 
the students were making their way homeward. 

As one of these, a thin, slight, fair-featured 
child, reached the end of the square occupied by 
the college, three boys, who had seemingly been 
awaiting his coming, sprang forward and put 
themselves in his wake. Then the trio began to 
keep step with their mock leader in a noisy, 
shuffling manner, kicking up dust and dirt with 
every move forward. 

Louis Harold, our thin little friend, flushed 
deeply, but did not seem to be taken by sur- 
prise. Indeed, this strange following was noth- 
ing new to him. Almost every afternoon had 
his steps been thus dogged. On previous occa- 
sions he had done nothing to put a stop to this 
petty persecution. He had simply blushed and 
moved on with an overwhelming sense of shame 
and bewilderment. 

On this day, however, he changed his tactics. 

1 06 



The Butt of the School. 107 

After walking a short distance along Sycamore 
Street, with the shuffling and loud stamping of 
his followers beating in his ear, he turned 
around, his delicate face pale and quivering, his 
large blue eyes suspiciously dimmed. 

" Please go away, boys," he said, and his 
voice trembled as he spoke. 4< I think you're 
acting very meanly." 

The three looked at him rather surprised at 
first, but after a moment's silence recovered 
themselves. 

li We want to keep the wind off you, Skinny, 
so's you won't get blown away," volunteered 
Fred Harman, the " funny bo) r " of the three; 
whereupon his companions broke into a laugh. 

" And, besides," added Willie Rollins, "we 
want to keep the dogs away ; they might take 
you for a bone, you know." 

' This very venerable joke was received with all 
the deference due to old age, and the persecu- 
tors laughed again. 

Louis Harold's bosom heaved convulsively; 
he drew his lips tight together and repressed the 
rising sob. He said nothing, but continued fac- 
ing them. 

" Aren't you going on ? ' queried Charlie 
Ogden, the third member of the facetious band. 



1 08 The Butt of the School. 

Louis made no answer. It was all he could 
do, indeed, to restrain his feelings of mortifica- 
tion and pain. 

After a dead silence the three set about chaf- 
fing him with all the ready eloquence of con- 
tempt. Nor did they intend to be unkind. It 
was wit they were aiming at. But wit at 
another's expense is cruelty; and so these school 
lads, good-natured enough in general, now made 
poor Louis a target for the arrows of their scorn, 
pitilessly plying their shafts till the child's sensi- 
tive nature was a mass of wounds. 

At last Louis could endure the situation no 
longer; he turned and fled at the top of his 
speed. 

As soon as the three could adjust their ideas 
to this turn of affairs they set off after him. But 
here Louis' light, slim build, I am glad to say, 
served him in good stead. His pursuers, after 
chasing him for several minutes, had scarcely 
gained a yard; and, moreover, were already 
fetching their breath with difficulty. 

" Hold on, boys," panted Fred Harman; 
" let's let him go, or we'll have him boo-hooing, 
and that'll spoil the whole joke. We don't 
want to carry the thing too far." 

His companions assented, and, no doubt, 



The Butt of the School. 109 

plumed themselves on their moderation. Laugh- 
ing, therefore, over their little joke, they sought 
their respective homes. 

Their little joke! Ah, yes; but was it a little 
joke for Louis ? The joke that is pleasant on 
one side only is a pitiable thing indeed. 

II. 

• I am afraid that Louis found it very difficult 
to settle down to his studies that evening. His 
delicate feelings had been sadly lacerated. 
Through freaks of fortune many have become 
great in the world's eye; in much the same way 
manv have become little. This latter lot had 
fallen to Louis. But two weeks of the school 
year had passed, and yet he had met his fate on 
the second day. 

It was the morning recess. School-boy like, 
Louis was dashing across the yard, when he 
slipped and fell in a pool of muddy water occa- 
sioned by a recent rain. Now it happened that 
at that time nearly all the boys, being in great 
part strangers to one another, were sitting about 
on the playground benches on the lookout for 
any novelty. The fall and splash afforded the 
desired excitement, and Louis became the ob- 
served of all. On arising from the puddle the 



no The Butt of the School. 

sight of his mud-bespattered clothes gave rise to 
a general laugh. The poor child, covered with 
shame, at once hurried away to a retired corner, 
seated himself on a bench, and buried his face in 
his hands. But his troubles had only begun. 
A youthful wag crept behind while Louis was 
still absorbed in his feelings of mortification, and 
pinned upon his jacket a paper with the words: 

• 
WANTED 

A NO. I WHITEWASHER, 

NO NIGGERS NEED APPLY. 

It is easier to imagine than to describe the 
scene that ensued when Louis presently arose 
and walked across the yard. The fun was cut 
short by a good-natured large boy, who took 
Louis aside, removed the paper, and helped the 
victim to repair the damages of mud and water. 

The evil, however, had gone too far to be 
stayed. From that day on Louis, under the 
nickname of " Skinny," became the butt of the 
school ; which, being interpreted, signifies that 
he was a mark for the jokes and jibes of all cruel 
and all thoughtless students. 

Nor was he safe with the better class of boys. 
Even the worst exercise a strong influence; and, 



The Butt of the School. 1 1 1 

without knowing it, the good are in many cases 
led by them. So it was in the present case. It 
is true none of the thoroughly good and thought- 
ful boys ever treated Louis with downright un- 
kindness. Still they came to look upon him as 
a " little goose," a " nobody." And their 
opinion, indeed, seemed to have foundation. In 
class our Louis seemed to be little more than a 
dunce. His written exercises, it must be said, 
were good ; and more than once had Mr. Frank, 
his teacher, praised them highly in presence of 
the class. But for all that, whenever Louis was 
asked the simplest lesson his brains seemed to 
go a-scattering; his answers fell so wide of the 
mark that it was at times difficult even for the 
teacher to restrain a smile. 

On one occasion — to give an example — Mr, 
Frank had asked him : 

<v To what two great commandments may the 
ten commandments be reduced ? " 

To these two," began Louis, and stopped. 
Then he colored deeply and his fingers twitched 
nervously. 

Very good, Louis," said Mr. Frank. " Go 
on; I'm sure you know the rest." 

" Thou — thou — thou," reiterated Louis. 
! Thou shalt," prompted Mr. Frank. 



ii2 The Butt of the School, 

Suddenly, without a single halt, Louis rattled 
off as follows: 

il Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother 
with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with 
all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy 
neighbor as thyself; this do and thou shalt live." 

Imagine the sensation created by this new 
commandment. 

And so it came to pass that in spite of his 
neat and correctly written tasks Louis was the 
butt of the school. 

On the evening following his awkward intro- 
duction to the reader he found it a difficult 
matter to settle down to his lessons. So stormily 
were the persecutions of the past two weeks 
surging in his tiny breast that at length he 
threw his books aside and leaned back in his 
chair in sad thought. Suddenly a gleam of com- 
fort passed over his features; his eyes had been 
arrested by a picture over his desk. We all 
know that picture. Under it were written the 
words: " Come to Me, all ye that are weary and 
burdened, and I will refresh you." 

Louis read this sentence into a new meaning. 
It seemed to be addressed to himself. The in- 
vitation was heeded. Louis threw himself upon 
his knees before the picture of the Sacred Heart, 



The Butt of the School. 113 

With prayer came peace — not at once, indeed, 
but slowly and surely, as the gray streak in the 
east grows into the perfect splendor of a cloud- 
less day. 

And deep in his heart Louis seemed to hear 
words of sweetness and love from that sweetest 
of consolers. 

Poor Louis! Great need had he for those 
sweet words ; for the morrow was to bring him a 
still greater humiliation. 



III. 



It was morning recess on the following day, 
and Louis, who avoided the playground as much 
as possible, was hastening over to the reading- 
room, there to bury himself in his books. As he 
came within a few paces of the reading-room 
door it chanced that a heavy-set lad engaged in 
the delectable game of ll tag " bumped against 
him full force, and our thin little friend literally 
went "spinning." But, instead of falling, he 
in turn collided with Tom Norton, who just then 
was in the act of catching a thrown base-ball. 
In the collision Louis came down rather sharply 
upon the right foot of Tom, and so disturbed 
that young lover of the national game that, in- 



ii4 The Butt of the School. 

stead of catching the ball in his hand he caught 
it in the pit of the stomach. 

Tom's face flashed from intense pain to intense 
anger, and, with this latter passion distorting his 
features, he turned upon Louis. When he 
recognized the involuntary aggressor his passion 
seemed to know no bounds. 

11 You little fool! " he exclaimed. And with 
open hand he struck Louis a stinging blow on 
the cheek. 

Louis staggered and fell, but arose at once 
and hastened into the reading-room — the ugly 
stroke he had just received branded in purple on 
his delicate features. 

Poor Louis! To be called a fool! To be 
struck! He who in the happy past had felt no 
touch that was not a caress; heard no word 
harsher than the kind words of love and sweet- 
ness from sister, father, and mother. If Louis 
had had the appointment of his own death he 
would have chosen that hour. 

As he passed through the yard to his class- 
room, at the end of recess, he fancied that every 
eye was fastened pitilessly on his glowing mark 
of shame. It was indeed a bitter, bitter hour. 

As for Tom Norton, he was wretched too. 
Louis had trod upon Tom's foot where it hap- 



The Butt of the School. 115 

pened to be particularly tender. The ball, too, 
had hit him where one does not enjoy being hit. 
So it was no wonder he had been vexed. And 
yet he felt that he had gone too far. The idea 
that he, a big, strong boy of thirteen, should 
strike down a thin, puny lad who didn't seem to 
be fairly ten! Was it not cowardly? The ques- 
tion haunted him. 

He was still pondering, when a boy called 
across the yard to him : 

" Norton! Norton, I say! Mr. Frank wants 
to see you." 

Tom hurried over to Mr. Frank's class- 
room. 

" Well, Tommy," said Mr. Frank, " you 
seem to look rather ashamed of yourself." 

Tom glanced inquiringly at Mr. Frank, and at 
once perceived that his teacher knew all. 

" He stepped on my foot, sir — on my sore 
foot." 

" He did ? How mean of him! And I sup- 
pose he knew it was sore, too." 

"No, sir; he didn't." 

Tom wondered whether his teacher were quiz- 
zing him. 

" No ? " re-echoed Mr. Frank. " Still it was 
very mean of him to stamp on your foot, even if 



1 1 6 The Butt of the School. 

he didn't know. I don't wonder you were very- 
angry." 

" But he didn't intend to do it, sir; he 
couldn't help himself," explained Tom, who 
could not but perceive that Mr. Frank had been 
leading him on from an attempted defence of 
his conduct to a naked confession of its culpa- 
bility. 

" Well, at any rate," pursued Mr. Frank, " I 
don't wonder you became angry." 

" I couldn't help it, sir." 

" Just so; you weren't prepared for it. If 
you had been told beforehand what was to 
happen you might have been prepared." 

" That's so, sir." 

" Suppose, now, a brick had fallen from the 
wall on your foot, would it have hurt as much ?" 

" More, I reckon." 

" Then you'd have become angrier still, and 
you'd have slapped that brick even worse than 
you did the boy." 

Mr. Frank smiled. 

Tom smiled in return, and their eyes met. 
Suddenly Tom's face became serious. 

" Mr. Frank," he broke forth, "it is no use 
talking; I'm a big coward and a bully, and I'm 
heartily ashamed of myself." 



The Butt of the School. 117 

There was sincerity in his honest young face 
and his flashing eyes. 

" Gently, Tom," said Mr. Frank, taking his 
hand. " You , ought to be ashamed of yourself, 
I allow. But I do not think that you are either 
a coward or a bully." 

" But I am, sir. Since I've been talking with 
you everything's got clearer and clearer. Do 
you know, sir, I don't think there's hardly 
another boy in the yard I'd have struck but 
Skinny. You see, it's this way: none of the 
fellows think much of him; he's always getting 
into trouble and being laughed at, and so I've 
got to look upon him as nobody at all. Now, 
if it had been somebody else stepped on my foot 
I mightn't have struck, because I'd have felt it 
wouldn't be reasonable; but with Skinny it was 
different." 

Mr. Frank listened to this honest confession 
with close attention; and twice during the narra- 
tion did his countenance evince surprise. 

" Well, Tom, your act was a cowardly act; 
but one cowardly act doesn't make a coward any 
more than one swallow makes a summer. As 
for being a bully, the very fact that you pro- 
claim yourself a bully proves that you are not. 
I don't believe there has yet lived a bully who 



1 1 8 The Butt of the School, 

could stand up and confess himself as such. But 
there's something you said just now which in- 
terests me very much. You say that Louis 
Harold — you called him Skinny, I believe — is 
out of favor with the boys. Tell me all about 
it." 

What Tom told the reader already knows. 

" Thank you, thank you very much," said 
Mr. Frank, when Tom had come to a pause. 
1 You have thrown light on something that's 
been puzzling me these last two weeks. And 
now, helped by what you've told me, I can tell 
you something in return. Do you know what's 
the trouble with Louis ? " 

" No, sir." 

" Simply this. He is an extremely sensitive 
boy, whose spirit is breaking under ill treat- 
ment. Your blow will have a terrible effect on 
him unless it be atoned for." 

Tom fidgeted; he was proud. 

tl Do you know," continued Mr. Frank, " I 
was puzzled that Louis could do so well at his 
themes and so poorly in lessons. Of course I 
saw that he was bashful; but now I see more. 
He knew that his classmates were pitiless, and 
were waiting for him to slip. Well, thank you. 
You are sorry for your conduct, and I'm sure 



The Butt of the School. 119 

you'll do what your conscience suggests to make 
up for it. Good-by." 

Now what Tom's conscience suggested was 
that he should begin by apologizing. But this 
' to a boy cost a strong effort. Still Tom nerved 
himself for the attempt, and with sinking heart 
sought out Louis. He perceived him sitting 
alone near the class-room building. 

Louis, on noticing that Tom was approaching, 
arose and hurried away. 

Tom lost heart. 

" He's angry, of course; and I'll get into 
more trouble if I talk to him." 

So he dismissed his resolution with an inward 
feeling that all w?s not right. This feeling grew 
stronger as the school hours moved on; and 
when class let oat Tom Norton was fully as mis- 
erable as Louis. 

Tom had good qualities; he sought peace 
where it was to be found. Instead of remaining 
in the yard to participate, as was his wont, in a 
game of football, he quietly slipped into the col- 
lege chapel to pour out his troubles to his 
Mother Mary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
Like the publican in the Gospel, he took his 
position near the door; and, kneeling, he begged 
with bowed head and clasped hands that Mary 



I2G The Butt of the School, 

his Mother might obtain for him grace and light 
from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But, for all his 
prayers, the struggle within him between pride 
and duty still raged. Duty called on him to 
apologize; shame endeavored to put the ques- 
tion by. And so he prayed the longer. 

Suddenly a sob startled his ears. He raised 
his head in surprise; for he had thought himself 
alone. No; he was not. There in front of 
him, low before the image of the Sacred Heart, 
was Louis Harold. His eyes, dimmed with 
tears, were gazing upward in supplication to the 
Refuge of the persecuted. And as Tom Norton 
took in the scene grace flashed into his soul. 

Apologize! He would apologize, cost what it 
might. With the resolution a spirit of peace 
and sweet devotion came upon him such as he 
had never before experienced. And with this 
spirit upon him he fell into an earnest prayer for 
pardon. 

When he again raised his head Louis had dis- 
appeared. 

On leaving the chapel Tom repaired to the 
room of the prefect of studies. Here he ob- 
tained Louis' address, and was not a little sur- 
prised to find that the boy lived quite close to 
his own home. 



The Butt of the School. 1 2 1 

" Thank God," he murmured, " I shall be 
able to atone all the better." 

IV. 

It was a bitter evening for Louis Harold. 
Despite his visit to the Sacred Heart, despite 
his prayers, his soul was tossed about on a sea 
of passion. It has already been said that he 
appeared to be scarcely ten years of age ; as a 
matter of fact, he was something more than 
eleven, and, being of an intensely sensitive dis- 
position, some of his passions were developed 
beyond his years. As on the preceding even- 
ing, he found it impossible to put his mind to 
study; prayer, too, was beset with distractions. 
There seemed to be a demon in his heart whis- 
pering him in words of hatred and rage. In 
vain — seemingly, at least — did he recall the 
memory of Our Saviour, scoffed, struck, and 
derided; the demon's voice bore in upon him 
the stronger. 

His mother, one of the kindest of mothers, 
was in the next room. Might he not, he re- 
flected, go to her with his troubles? But no; 
he would not make her unhappy with his unhap- 
piness. He would fight it out; he would for- 
give. Again the demon voice grew strong. 



122 The Butt of the School. 

What an unkind thing to strike down a small 
boy for a mere accident! Louis began to trem- 
ble. He was in danger of falling. So intense 
were his feelings of revenge and hatred that he 
knew, should he give way to them, he would 
sully his soul with the sin of hatred. It was a 
perilous moment. But grace made him equal to 
the occasion. Yet, vanquished for the time, 
the thought presently returned. At length, 
when the temptation had become so strong that 
he was struggling, almost despairingly in its toils, 
there came a knock at the door. " Come in," 
cried Louis, arising from his kneeling posture 
and hastily passing his hands through his di- 
shevelled hair. 

His sister Nellie, a bright-faced, pretty child 
of seven, entered. 

"Why, Louie!" she exclaimed, stopping 
short just beyond the threshold, and opening 
her eyes in wonder, " what's the matter ? You 
look just horrid." 

" Oh, I'm all right!" answered Louis, as he 
endeavored, vainly enough, to greet his sister 
with the customary smile of love. 

" Here," cried Nellie, getting on tiptoe and 
giving him a kiss. " Now, you ought to feel 
better. I think, Louie, you must have trouble 



:• 



The Butt of the School. 123 

at that old school. Boys are such horrid things 
— I hate 'em all, except you, of course. And 
most of them are freckle-faced, and the rest 
don't know how to comb their hair. The only 
'spectable boys I know are boys what have nice 
sisters to take care of them." 

" Well," said Louis, forgetting for the moment 
his troubles while listening to this masterly 
harangue, " did you come here and break up 
my studies for the sake of giving me your 
opinion on boys and their sisters ? 

" Oh, that's a fact! I was very near forget- 
ting all about it. There's a boy in the parlor 
who says he wants to see you." 

" A boy wants to see me! " echoed Louis. 
' A b-o-y — boy; and he wants to see you, 
Louie. But before you go let me fix you up a 
little. Take off your jacket." 

And with this, little Miss Nellie procured a 
towel, wet it, and with the most matronly air 
imaginable proceeded to wash the face of her 
big brother. She then combed his hair, and, it 
must be confessed, acquitted herself of the task 
with a skill which her brother, when left to his 
own resources, could admire, but not imitate. 
During all these pretty offices there was a con- 
stant skirmishing. Louis, provoking boy, would 



124 The Butt of the School. 

start and fidget; and in consequence received 
several taps and grave rebukes from the wise 
matron of seven summers. 

But the pleasant war came to an end ; and as 
he descended the stairs to the parlor every 
thought of his trouble had vanished. 

Besides the angels, God has other sweet and 
gracious means for drawing our hearts upward. 

But when Louis entered the parlor the events 
of the day came back in a flash; for there 
before him stood Tom Norton. With some- 
thing like a gasp Louis drew back, the muscles 
of his face twitching violently and his complexion 
growing ashen pale. 

Tom came forward, held out his hand, and 
endeavored to smile. 

Don't run off, Louie; you don't know how 
mean I feel. I'm real sorry — awful sorry — sure. 
Come on, old fellow, and shake hands." 

Louis' lips quivered with something like a 
smile; the hard lines of his face relaxed; his 
eyes softened into tenderness. The almost in- 
stantaneous change was at once beautiful and 
touching. He held out his hand, which Tom 
grasped cordially. 

" You're a real good fellow, Louie," blurted 
forth Tom, now smiling freely, and unconsciously 



The Butt of the School. 125 

throwing aside the awkwardness which had dis- 
tinguished his apology; " and if you and I aren't 
going to be the best of friends and classmates it 
won't be my fault. I'm a rough sort of a fellow; 
but if you want a friend you can count on me 
every time. What do you say, Louie ? Shall 
you and I be friends ? " 

The smile and the beautiful expression which 
had come over Louis' face in the first moments 
of their hearty hand-grasp had during these 
friendly words been succeeded by a twitching 
and quivering of every nerve. 

" Tom — " but he could restrain his feelings 
no longer; weeping and sobbing he sank into a 
chair. 

Somewhat astonished, Tom closed the parlor 
door, seated himself beside Louie, and put his 
arm about the weeping child. He said nothing, 
but awaited in silent sympathy. 

" Excuse me," pleaded Louis, when the first 
violence of his emotion had passed, " but I 
couldn't help it, I really couldn't. I didn't ex- 
pect such kindness from any living boy." 

" Oh, pshaw! I haven't been any too kind. 
But from this out you'll see I'll behave the right 
way." 

1 You're the first boy that ever gave me a 



126 The Butt of the School, 

kind word since I've started going to school. 
Oh! you don't know how I've suffered. I never 
cried much up to this; but when you spoke just 
now I felt as though another life had begun." 

Tom Norton must have had some peculiar 
magnetic power over Louis; for in the conversa- 
tion that ensued the child gave utterance for the 
first time to all his troubles. And the confes- 
sion benefited our little friend. With the recital 
his childish griefs seemed to vanish into thin air, 
leaving him a bright-eyed, quick, and happy 
American boy. 

Tom Norton spent the evening with his new 
friend. They ''did" their themes together, 
ran over the next morning's recitations, and, 
after further talk, separated for the night, two of 
the merriest, two of the happiest boys in Cin- 
cinnati. 

Many years may come and go over their 
heads, many days now memorable to them may 
be crushed into oblivion by the strong hand of 
time ; but this day, when each conquered himself 
in the fight for love and justice, shall stand out 
in their lives and memories with the peace and 
beauty and unchangeableness of a star. 



The Butt of the School. 127 



V. 



Brighter days were now in store for Louis; 
but the horizon was not entirely clear as yet. 
Tom Norton, after all, was but one of a large 
school, and his influence, though strong, had its 
limits. What influence he had, however, he 
used to good purpose. 

With Mr. Frank's permission he sat beside 
Louis in the class-room; and on the very morn- 
ing of the change he nodded so cheerily when 
Louis was asked the lesson that our little friend 
took heart and went through his recitation in a 
manner that astonished the class and caused Mr. 
Frank to radiate happiness. 

Nor did Tom's efforts stop here. In the 
course of the day he put Louis upon terms of 
friendship with Ed Ronald, Frank Trainer, 
Charlie Walker, and others of Mr. Frank's best 
and most genial pupils of the preceding year. 

For all this, there remained a leaven of the 
ancient unkindness. After school Tom and 
Louis generally walked home together. But one 
afternoon Louis, unable to find Tom, started off 
alone. He had not fairly turned the corner, 
when behold the old trio in the old way were 
again at his heels. 



j 28 The Butt of the School. 

A moment later Tom Norton came hurrying 
out of the college gate. As he turned the 
corner and took in the situation, he broke into 
a dash. The three persecutors were linked arm 
in arm, happily ignorant that there was a new 
member bringing up the rear of their procession. 
They became vividly aware of this fact, though, 
when Tom put a sturdy hand on each of the 
outer heads and brought them bumping with 
some energy against the third head. 

There was an immediate unlocking of arms, a 
triple howl of pain ; and then three dazed lads 
stood holding their hands to their heads with a 
picturesque unanimity of gesture. 

" What did you do that for? " sputtered Fred 
Harman, who, having been the middleman -of 
the three, had a hand applied to two sides of his 
head, as though it were winter, and he were 
suffering for lack of ear-muffs. 

Tom gave the Hibernian answer. 

" What were you fellows dogging Louie 
Harold for?" 

" Oh, just for fun! " 

" You don't say! Well, that's what I knocked 
your heads together for — just for fun." 

" It wasn't very funny, I can tell you," said 
Willie Rollins. 



The Butt of the School. 129 

" Well, I can tell you," retorted Tom, with 
flashing eyes, " it'll be a heap funnier next time. 
I'll hold your heads together and rub down your 
ears to the natural size, you miserable little 
cowards! You'd better clear off now; and don't 
you try bullying Louie Harold again." 

From that day forth persecution was at an 
end. Louis contrived to grow brighter and 
happier, till, by degrees, his excessive timidity 
completely disappeared, and he rose to be one 
of the leaders of his class. 

But he never forgot the sufferings of those 
first weeks; nor did Tom Norton. The very 
fact that a fellow-student was friendless, un- 
noticed, or timid sufficed to induce these two 
friends to take him up. And so there gradually 
came upon the class a term of lasting peace and 
sweet charity. 



Jf regie's ffisbing Hfcwenture. 
i. 

It was the dawn of a beautiful morning toward 
the end of August. Seated in the stern of a 
dainty boat attached to the landing-place, hold- 
ing his rod in a firm grasp, and gazing out upon 
the mirror-like face of the waters, Mr. Robin, 
who had just succeeded in making a cast of some 
seventy odd feet, looked every inch a fisherman. 

He was still inwardly congratulating himself 
on the cast when his reel suddenly gave a rapid 
succession of clicks, while his pole bent almost 
double. 

" Hurrah! " he exclaimed under his breath, as 
he jumped to his feet; tl this time I've a big fish 
sure." And he began playing his victim with 
the dexterity of a practised hand. 

On this occasion, indeed, he found it neces- 
sary to bring all his skill into play. The fish 
with which he had to deal entertained views of 

its own on the solemnity of life — views which it 

130 



Freddie's Fishing Adventure. 131 

conveyed to its captor by a variety of vigorous 
tactics. It began to air these views by starting 
out for mid-lake at the speed of a limited ex- 
press — so at least Mr. Robin fancied — and it was 
only by the judicious and swift playing out of 
ever so many yards of his line that the excited 
angler succeeded in saving his delicate fishing 
outfit from total wreck. Even as it was, the 
strain upon line and pole was for a time intense; 
but desperate endeavor is short-lived ; the rod 
presently unbent and the reel ceased clicking. 
The fish had called a halt. But Mr. Robin, who 
had an idea of allowing his prey a moment's 
respite, at once set about reeling in. Fishy, 
however, was in no humor for a rest just then; 
and no matter how fast Mr. Robin wound and 
wound, it contrived by fast swimming toward 
the landing to keep the line slack. 

Just as Mr. Robin was about to resort to new 
devices, there was a great splash twenty feet 
beyond the boat; and his heart jumped into his 
mouth as he discerned the author of the splash 
— a great, savage pike. 

What a flying leap it was! Indeed, one would 
have thought that the struggling captive wore 
wings. The sight set Mr. Robin's pulse into a 
madder gallop. Well, to be brief, after ten 



132 Freddie's Fishing Adventure. 

minutes of steady playing, Mr. Robin landed his 
fish, and stood panting, breathless, gloating over 
his conquered and now thoroughly exhausted 
adversary, the happiest man in Wisconsin; and 
he was still gazing, still panting, when the clatter 
of hoofs smote upon his ear. 

" It's Freddie!" he exclaimed, as he turned 
his head to greet the new arrival. 

Freddie it was, mounted on a black pony, and 
coming down the road at such a pace that his 
blue sash and long golden hair streamed in the 
faint breeze of sunrise. 

" What luck, papa ? " cried the little lad, as 
he drew within speaking distance. 

" Glorious!' responded the happy parent. 
" Look at this, Freddie; the biggest pike I ever 
saw out of the water." 

Freddie gave a little gurgle of joy, threw the 
reins over his pony's neck, alighted, and hastened 
to put himself beside his father. 

" Oh, my! " he piped. " What a tree-men- 
dous fish! " 

11 Isn't it, Freddie? It beats the record on 
this lake. Is your mamma up yet ? ' 

" Yes, indeed, papa; she and sister Lucy are 
taking their breakfast." 

" Very good ; they must see my catch at once. 



Freddie ' s Fishing Adventure, 133 

Here " — Mr. Robin suspended his sentence to 
put a fat minnow on his hook and make a fresh 
cast; then continued — " you hold this pole for a 
few minutes while I bring our pike up to the 
hotel." 

Still in a glow of excitement, Mr. Robin 
caught up his fish, mounted the pony, and de- 
parted at a trot, leaving Freddie in sole posses- 
sion of rod and boat. 

As we are Hearing the curious part of this 
veracious story, it is well to know something 
definite of Freddie's appearance. 

He was a very pretty, blue-eyed child of 
seven, and was arrayed in the neatest and 
tastiest of riding suits. It is important to keep 
in mind that his snow-white collar, large as it 
was, was concealed from view in front by a wide- 
spreading " butterfly " of many hues. His legs 
below the knee were encased in black silk stock- 
ings, and his low shoes were fitted with a pair of 
shining silver spurs. 

So there stood Freddie in the boat, his blue 
eyes sparkling under his golden hair; his bright 
face all the brighter for the smile of happiness 
that parted his lips and revealed the white, 
regular teeth ; all the prettier for the tints of the 
rose, which the morning ride had deepened upon 



134 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

either cheek. Freddie was a passionate lover of 
fishing, and looked upon all other sports as dross 
in the comparison. 

But suddenly his face clouded. The memory 
of his mother flashed through his mind. Had 
he not promised her never to fish without some 
older companion at his side ? Freddie was a 
thoroughly good boy, and a thoroughly good 
boy is ever obedient. With but a moment's 
hesitation he made the sacrifice ; and suppressing 
manfully the suspicion of a little sob, he began 
to reel in the line with an alacrity which, under 
the circumstances, was heroic. 

But fish, as the sequel will show, are foolish 
creatures. All save twenty feet of the line had 
Freddie wound in when there came such a jerk 
and a pull that the reel slipped from his fingers, 
and, indeed, it was by great good luck that he 
succeeded even in keeping the pole secure in his 
little hands. 

Whiz — whirl — click — whiz — whirl — went the 
reel as the line flew out into the water with such 
speed as to force Freddie to close his eyes for 
very dizziness. 

He opened them quickly, however, and catch- 
ing the whirling reel, put a stop to its revolu- 
tions, and brought the line taut. This was an 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 135 

unfortunate thing for Freddie. The sudden 
strain was too much for him, and still holding 
the rod in his hands, over he toppled into the 
water. 

Now Freddie could not swim a stroke. 

II. 

Instead of rising to the surface, as is custom- 
ary with people who take sudden dives, Freddie 
found himself with his feet firmly set upon the 
sandy bottom in fifteen feet of water, gazing 
about him in no little astonishment. The water 
was fairly swarming with fish. There was a 
countless number of perch, silver, rock, and 
black bass, and a great many members of the 
finny tribe such as Freddie had never so much 
as imagined. Here and there might be seen a 
staring wall-eyed pike or a savage-looking pick- 
erel. Nearly all the fishes whose eyes Freddie 
caught gave him a friendly nod of welcome; not 
all, however. The pickerels shook their tails at 
him, and opened their large, ugly mouths in a 
menacing manner. Evidently they were angry. 

But he had little time to wonder at these 
strange sights, for his attention was almost im- 
mediately diverted by the violent jerks at his 
line. Following its direction, he perceived that 



136 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

a huge pike was making violent efforts to free 
his mouth from Mr. Robin's hook. On catching 
Freddie's eye the pike ceased his struggles. 

" You young rascal!" he stuttered — for the 
hook in his mouth interfered somewhat with the 
distinctness of his enunciation — 4< I've caught 
you. 

" Don't call any names, please," retorted 
Freddie politely, " and excuse me when I say 
that I think I've caught you." 

" Not at all," snapped the pike with a great 
sneeze, caused, doubtless, by the hook, " and 
I'll just trouble you to let go that pole. I want 
to go out in deep water. There's a famous 
wall-eyed pike out there who is given to dentis- 
try-, and who extracts hooks without pain." 

" Indeed I won't!' Freddie made answer. 
il This line is my papa's, and you, Mr. Pike, 
belong to him too." 

While this conversation was going on, fishes 
had been swimming to the scene of action from 
all sides. They formed into knots and groups, 
and, for the most part, appeared to be discuss- 
ing the situation with admirable gravity. Not 
so the pikes, however. Their comments were 
of a noisier order, and their gesticulations were 
especially energetic. The pickerels, too, showed 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 137 

signs of temper. Nor is the explanation far to 
seek. The pickerel, as we all know, is nearly 
related to the pike ; and even in the case of 
fishes blood is thicker than water. 

On the other hand, the pretty little perches 
could not do enough to show their welcome to 
the wanderer from the realms of air. All dur- 
ing the foregoing dialogue they were nodding 
and bowing to Freddie, and at each of the little 
lad's retorts they testified their approbation in 
all manner of curious and fish-like ways. Some 
relieved their feelings by turning double somer- 
saults; others, by standing on their heads and 
trying to wink, in which last attempt, to tell the 
truth, they were far from successful, nature hav- 
ing denied the finny tribe some of the requisites 
that go to the producing of a wink. One infant 
perch, an innocent fellow, who knew little of the 
manners and customs of the small boy, came 
swimming up to Freddie with the offer of a very 
fine fat worm, which he had just secured, and 
was taken aback not a little when Freddie 
refused the wriggling prize. Indeed, the perch's 
feelings were quite bruised, and he would 
probably have burst into tears of mortification 
had not his mamma taken him aside, and, while 
gently stroking his forehead, explained that the 



138 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

small boy's taste does not incline him to the 
regulation perch diet. For the rest, the silver, 
rock, and black bass seemed to be amused, but 
showed no decided leaning toward either faction. 

lt Once more," resumed the captive, " will 
you let go that rod or not ? " 

11 Not," replied Freddie sententiously. 

" Well, look out for squalls, then." And 
with a rush and a squeak the pike dashed straight 
at our little friend. 

" Fight! fight! " roared a hideous, rakish dog- 
fish, rubbing his fins with delight. The dog- 
fishes are the lowest characters of the lakes. 

On came the pike, head down, determination 
written in his eye, while Freddie stood stock- 
still, puzzled as to what measures he should take 
to repel the onslaught. He could use but one 
hand, for the other was employed in holding the 
rod. The fish, however, giving him little time 
to deliberate, made for his black silk stockings. 
Naturally enough Freddie kicked vigorously. 
Presto! there came a groan from the fish. 

" I'm stabbed!' he called out. " Bring a 
surgeon ! " 

He had spoken truly. Freddie's spurs had 
given him a slight wound; and so disconcerted 
was the doughty pike that he withdrew at once 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 139 

to a safe distance, muttering as he went, " You 
don't fight fair." 

" I don't want to fight at all," returned Fred- 
die; " but just the same, I'm not going to let 
any fish bite at my legs if I can help myself. 
It isn't pleasant." 

" Very well," sighed the pike, after a few 
moments given to deliberation. " If you don't 
choose to let go that rod, I'll pull you along 
with me." And turning quickly, he set off with 
all his strength for the interior of the lake. 

The pike was, beyond doubt, an able swim- 
mer. Freddie was lifted off his feet, and pulled 
along, his toes just touching upon the sandy 
bottom. Still, it was slow work; and presently 
the poor pike was panting heavily, and, if we 
may use the expression, out of breath. Re- 
duced to this state, he stopped short and sum- 
moned a few of his friends to his side. Together 
they held a whispered consultation, and finally 
hit upon a new plan of action. Two of the very 
largest pikes put themselves on each side of the 
captive, and, taking a part of the leader in their 
mouths, joined forces with their afflicted friend 
in towing Freddie along. 

And now something very strange came to 
pass. You remember that Freddie, with his 



140 Freddie's Fishing Adventure. 

long golden hair and blue sash, had a gaudy tie 
and shining silver spurs. Well, as the little lad 
went drifting along quite rapidly, he began to 
whirl round and round. Now imagine a small 
boy thus dressed whirling round and round 
below the surface of the water. He looked for 
all the world like a very large spoon-hook attached 
to a trolling line. 

Certainly one fish was deceived ; for as they 
were getting into very deep waters, a large 
black bass, on catching sight of the revolving 
Freddie, concluded that he was an overgrown 
minnow, and with a quick dash made a savage 
snap at his little legs. 

" Keep off! Go away! " shouted Freddie, as 
he kicked vigorously. " I'm not fish bait." 

" Oh! I beg your pardon a thousand times," 
said the big black bass politely. " I was never 
so deceived in all my life. Upon my word, 
young sir, you're the very image of a magnified 
minnow. But what are you doing here, may I 
ask ? By this time you should of right be 
drowned. Most people find it utterly impossible 
to breathe under water." 

So friendly was the address, so kindly the 
glance of the big black bass, that Freddie with- 
out hesitation told him the whole history of his 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 141 

fishing adventure up to the moment of their odd 
introduction. 

" Ah! I see, I see," said the old fellow, shak- 
ing his solemn head, as Freddie came to a pause. 
" You're an obedient boy, that's why you 
didn't drown. I like you, young sir; indeed I 
do. I like all obedient young people. I'm a 
family man myself, sir, and I know how sharper 
than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless 
child." And as he delivered himself of this 
Shakespearean remark, the family man clasped 
his fins in a gesture of resignation. 

He went on : 

" One of my children — my eighty-third son, 
young sir — was wild and dissipated. He used 
to stay out late of nights, and associated with 
some of the most disorderly dog-fishes and mud- 
cats in our neighborhood. He was given to 
drink, too; used water only for swimming pur- 
poses. One afternoon, when he was slightly 
under the influence of liquor, and wouldn't come 
home, though his elder brother used every 
means short of physical force to induce him, he 
swaggered off toward the eastern shore, and 
there, near the bank, allowed himself to be 
caught by one of the awkwardest fishermen that 
ever made a cast. It was a very disgraceful 



142 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

affair indeed — disgraceful to be caught at all, 
much more so to fall a prey to an amateur fisher- 
man of the deepest dye. The family pride has 
never recovered from the blow." 

Here the big black bass sniffled audibly, and 
a great tear dropped from his left eye. But 
with a strong effort he mastered his emotion, 
and added : 

" Enough; these are unpleasant memories. 
My dear young sir, can I do you any favor ? I 
am entirely at your service." 

" Well," said Freddie, " I'd like a breath of 
fresh air." 

" Can you ride horseback ? " 
" I use a pony every day, sir." 
il Very good; then there's no trouble about 
it at all. I'll be your horse." 

The bass put himself in position; Freddie 
straddled his back, and secured himself on his 
seat by holding on with one hand to the fish's 
dorsal fin. The bass then rose to within a few 
feet of the surface, so that his rider's head just 
overtopped the water; and swimming lightly in 
the wake of the pike, he contrived to so lessen 
the strain on the line that the whole string 
moved along with increased speed. 

Freddie looked about him. Stranger the 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 143 

shores were low black lines above the horizon, 
miles and miles away. And yet the lake was 
scarcely two miles wide and but a little over 
three miles in length. While he was still pon- 
dering over this mystery, he felt a sudden tug 
at his heel. Looking down, he was astonished 
to discover a fine perch hanging to the spur on 
his right foot. Poor little perch had mistaken 
the flashing spur for a minnow popularly called 
the " shiner." Remembering the kind welcome 
extended him by the perches, Freddie released 
the little fish, who indeed was very grateful, and 
apologized with effusion for his awkward mis- 
take. 

This incident had brought all to the middle 
of the lake, whereupon the pickerel trio began 
moving more slowly, and at length stopped. 
There was a moment's pause, — then down, 
down darted the pickerels, straight as a plumb- 
line, for the bottom. During his descent, which, 
though rapid, lasted a minute, Freddie cast his 
eyes about him eagerly. He observed that it 
was a lonely neighborhood ; for some time, in- 
deed, he could distinguish no living thing. All 
at once, as it were, from beneath his feet there 
started a monstrous and most extraordinary- 
looking fish. For want of a better name Freddie 



144 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

called this creature a wall-eyed pike; he had his 
doubts, though, as to the fitness of the name, 
for of all the pike fishes he had ever seen, this 
one was certainly the first to appear in public 
wearing a pair of blue goggles. 

" Bless me! " exclaimed he of the blue gog- 
gles. " What's the meaning of this novel pro- 
cession? and what are you doing here, little 
boy?" and, looking inquiringly into the open 
face of Freddie, who, at a hint from his friend 
the bass, had dismounted and made his best 
bow, he laid his tail upon the boy's wrist and 
awaited the answer. 

With the frankness of innocent years, Freddie 
related his adventures. 

" Good boy!" exclaimed the wall-eyed pike 
with the blue goggles, when Freddie had made 
an end of his narration. " And what you have 
said is truth, every word of it; for your pulse 
was regular all the time you were speaking. A 
little boy cannot lie without his pulse beating 
faster. I am a doctor, I am, and belong to the 
old school." 

Here the speaker paused for effect; taking 
advantage of which the captive broke in with the 
account of his grievances. With unutterable 
gravity the ancient pike gave ear. 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 145 

" So, then, you want me to extract that hook 
without pain, do you? " 

11 Yes, doctor, please," answered the plaintiff, 
endeavoring to look pious and agreeable. 

" As doctor," returned the member of the old 
school with no small degree of majesty in word 
and address, " I would willingly do so; but — " 
and here the old gentleman took off his goggles, 
slapped his chest with both lateral fins, and 
became, if possible, yet more majestic — " as 
Justice of the Peace for this lake district, I must 
pursue another course." 

At these words the captive pike turned pale, 
while beads of perspiration stood out upon his 
long, slanting forehead. His two friends hung 
their heads, one of them making a mouth as 
though he were endeavoring to whistle. 

" You may well tremble," continued the ven- 
erable squire, his voice borrowing majesty from 
his wrath, " for your goings-on are but too well 
known to me. Beyond a doubt, you are the 
worst robber in my district; and I have long 
since made up my mind that it would be a good 
thing for our glorious commonwealth could it be 
rid of your presence. Now, listen to your sen- 
tence, and be silent that you may hear. You 
are hereby given over to this little boy, who, in 



146 Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 

turn, is to deliver you to his father. Your asso- 
ciates are solemnly warned not to interfere with 
the execution of justice. Lo! I have spoken." 

li O wise judge! " cried our friend, the black 
bass, " I — I who speak to you — shall see to it 
that your decision be carried out to the very 
letter." 

The wise judge waved his fins as a sign that 
court was adjourned; Freddie remounted his 
faithful charger, and, taking the lead this time, 
off he rode for the landing-place with the cap- 
tive, who now made no show of resistance, in 
his wake. On this homeward course Freddie 
recognized the landmarks — watermarks, if you 
will — that he had already passed over with as 
much ease as though he were a regular traveller 
through these subaqueous regions. 

Everything went quite smoothly till they came 
within thirty feet of the boat ; then suddenly 
the black bass slipped away, the water grew 
dark, Freddie sank, and feeling a choking sensa- 
tion, he realized that unless he could rise to the 
surface he would drown. Up he rose with a 
bound, and, as his head emerged from the water, 
he heard his father's voice. He turned his head 
in the direction whence the sound came, in time 
to see his father plunging from the pier. With 



Freddie s Fishing Adventure. 147 

a few vigorous strokes Mr. Robin reached his 
boy, grasped the little hand as it reached from 
below, and with another stroke^ and another, 
conveyed him safely to the shore. 

I am afraid that Freddie and his parents never 
came to understand each other as regards his 
adventure. I have told Freddie's story. They 
maintain that Freddie plunged overboard just as 
they came within easy reach of the boat, and 
that on his rising to the surface he was at 
once rescued. 

However this may be, two things are certain: 
first, that Freddie, in giving up, in intention at 
least, his chance to fish, proved himself to be an 
obedient boy. Secondly, that, on the line's 
being examined, there actually was found at the 
end of it an extremely large pike, so tired and 
dejected in appearance as to give color to the 
statement that it really had been dragging Fred- 
die through the underwastes of waters. 



XTbe Cbilfcren of tbe Snow* 

A CARNIVAL STORY. 

It is a wild afternoon in early February. The 
last rays of the sun are shining faintly upon a 
wild stretch of bare, level land — bare and level 
but for one solitary tree which stands alone, 
gaunt and grim, flinging out its naked branches 
to the eastern wind in seeming mute protestation 
of its loneliness. The sky, save in the west, 
where it is still blue and open, is of a dull leaden 
hue; it frowns down upon this open level, deso- 
lation frowning upon desolation. The sun's rays 
throw some little relief upon the nether gloom, 
but even their light is wild and weird, the light 
of a stormy sunset, and as it dips below the 
western rim, the shadowy form of the twilight 
steals apace over the scene, while her coming is 
heralded by a sudden dropping of the heavens 
in feathery flakes, which, falling in many sway- 
ing motions, lend to the last gleams of the dying 

day a pensive beauty. Softly fall these pretty 

148 



The Children of the Snow. 149 

messengers of the sky, eddying about in an elfin 
dance, as they find their way wearily to the dull- 
gray earth and charm it into sudden splendor. 
Faster, thicker they fall, gathering strength of 
number with the deepening twilight, till the 
solitary desolation becomes beautiful with the 
radiant wedding-garment of winter. 

Solitary desolation! Is there not a sound of 
silvery laughter upon the silent air ? And who 
are these that walk along this tract of desolation? 
One would think they had come with the snow 
— dropped down gently from above — from 
some twinkling star of a fairer clime. Hand in 
hand they walk — a little lass, clothed all in white 
— a little lad, his black coat shining with snow- 
drops. 

The girl is as beautiful of face as of dress. 
From her hair, rising in rich luxuriance over her 
forehead and falling in wavy masses below her 
shoulders, there sparkles a precious jewel — it 
sparkles bright and beautiful — but is a meaner 
beauty in comparison with the light that shines 
from her eyes, beautiful, deep, dark eyes, that 
look out upon the world in all the sweet inno- 
cence of a life made up of love and goodness and 
undoubting confidence. Her face is of a rich 
olive tint, and every feature is delicate, regular, 



i5° The Children of the Snoiv. 

and noble. About her shoulders is thrown a 
cloak, soft and white as the frolicking snow; her 
dress, too, is of snowy white, varied by no other 
color than the pearl necklace about her throat. 

Singularly like the girl is the boy — his com- 
plexion a shade deeper, his eyes a shade darker, 
and taller by several inches. His great coat, 
spangled by snowdrops, is thrown back, reveal- 
ing his ruffled shirt, from the bosom of which 
gleam two jewelled studs, and a bright-colored 
silk handkerchief about his neck. 

The incongruity of their situation does not 
seem to dawn upon them, for they are laughing 
and chatting, in silvery tones, which should 
charm even the silence. 

li Aren't they nice, these pretty snowflakes^ 5 '' 
says the little one, speaking in Italian. 

11 Yes, my Teresa," answers the boy; " they 
are very beautiful indeed.'' 

" Won't papa be surprised when he finds us 
out here to meet him? " 

" Surely; that is, if we do not miss him. You 
see when I proposed that we should come out to 
meet him coming home I didn't think that it 
would begin to snow." 

" That's so," said Teresa. " If it begins to 
fall faster we may not be able to see; and then 



The Children of the Snow. 151 

our little trick to please papa may fail. You 
know the way, Giovanni, do you not? ' 

" Oh, that's no trouble," answered Giovanni, 
evasively. " All we have to do is to walk 
straight on. We can do that no matter how 
hard it snows." . 

" And besides," added the girl, " mamma 
can see down through the snowflakes just as 
easily as though it were not snowing at all. 
Doesn't it seem long since mamma went to 
heaven? " 

li It is long, Teresa. She's been happy for — 
why, it is just one year to-night since she kissed 
us good-by, and told us that she would wait for 
us with God." 

" Yes, Giovanni ; and she told us not to cry, and 
to remember that we should all soon meet again." 

Here Teresa dashed forward and began catch- 
ing the snowdrops in her little hands. As she 
moved lightly among the falling flakes she looked 
like a perfect creature of the snow. But even as 
she flitted about as airily almost as the circling 
crystals, the air grew denser and denser till there 
seemed to be a thick white curtain shutting 
them off from all the world. Teresa hastened 
to regain her brother's hand. Looking up ear- 
nestly into his eyes, she said: 



152 The Children of the Snow. 

" Giovanni, do you think we shall get 
lost?" 

Giovanni answered the question after a mo- 
ment's pause. But in that pause there came a 
change over his life and character — a change so 
complete and startling that it is nameless. 

He had never known a trouble — never en- 
countered a danger. But now! He realized it 
at once; he and Teresa were alone in a snow- 
storm upon a vast prairie, with nothing to guide 
them to safety and shelter. 

" Teresa," he answered, " we may get lost, 
but I'll take care of you. Do you trust me, my 
little sister? " and Giovanni bent his head and 
looked anxiously into Teresa's eyes. 

The sister for answer threw her arms about 
his neck and kissed him. Then, with a mighty 
responsibility upon him, Giovanni pushed for- 
ward. 

" Remember, Teresa, this is carnival — the last 
day. To-morrow will be Ash Wednesday." 

" Am I not dressed for carnival? " answered 
Teresa. "Oh! wasn't it beautiful the year 
before last at Rome! You remember, Gio- 
vanni? " 

"Yes, indeed; the Corso was like a picture 
out of a fairy-book when you and I and mamma 



The Children of the Snow. 153 

and papa sat upon our balcony and threw con- 
fetti upon all the gay people below." 

' ' Didn't some of them look funny, ' ' exclaimed 
Teresa, her eyes gleaming with the pleasure of 
memory. " Such queer masks! Why, there 
was one with a donkey's head — and he brayed 
just lovely — it was so like a donkey." 

" Yes; and then the race. Wasn't it exciting 
to see the horses come tearing down the corso, 
and the people with faces like barrels, and tlje 
funny-looking fellows with caps and bells, and 
the shepherdesses rushing out of the way, and 
shouting and screaming. And then the pretty 
banners from all the houses, and the damasks 
and streamers, and the Pope's colors; and, 
Giovanni, mio, our bright blue Italian sky above 
it all — ugh! It wasn't a bit like this ugly 
American sky." 

" Yes; but our sky never sent us such pretty 
snow as this," said Giovanni. 

" That's true," said Teresa. " And, Gio- 
vanni, just after the race, do you remember the 
little girl and the boy, dressed so beautifully, 
who sang and danced beneath our balcony, and 
papa threw them a piece of gold? 

In answer to this Giovanni carolled a pretty, 
gay air, redolent of the carnival. 



154 The Children of the Snow. 

"Oh!' cried Teresa, clapping her hands, 
li that's the very thing they sang. I'm getting 
cold, Giovanni. Let's play we're in Rome, and 
the carnival is going on." 

With which the girl took a few steps forward, 
and swinging her arms above her head as though 
she were playing upon a tambourine, moved 
through the steps of a dance, fairy-like in its 
grace and beauty, while Giovanni with fuller 
voice, a beautiful treble, brought from a land 
where voices are sweetest and art is a heritage 
even of the peasant, carolled forth a song so 
sweet and light and gay, you would think it had 
come from Paradise; and heedless of the snow 
and dying light, the little one, more than ever 
like a child of snow and air, pirouetted gayly 
about in a witchery of motion that brought the 
carnival spirit upon the little singer, who, catch- 
ing her hand, joined her in beating the whitened 
earth with light feet till the two, tripping about 
in perfect abandon to the sweet melody still 
carolled forth by the brother, rivalled in grace 
of motion the whirling messengers of the air. 

" Ah! " said Teresa, stooping to the ground 
and seizing some snow in her delicate hands, 
" here are our confetti. There! ' And she 
tossed the snow in her brother's face. 



The Childre?i of the Snow. 155 

With a light laugh, the brother ended his 
carol, and, returning the charge, the two were 
soon engaged in a mimic warfare. 

" Giovanni," said Teresa, when, after their 
mock hostilities, she had regained her breath, 
" do you think we shall meet papa? 

11 We intended to, Teresa. But perhaps now 
that it's snowing we -may miss him. He may 
pass by us. But God is good. We'll find him 
to-morrow.' ' 

" Where did papa go? " 

" He went to see a man who lives in the 
country twelve miles farther on, about important 
business. When papa settles that we are going 
back to Rome." 

" Dear Rome! and the blue sky, and the high 
palaces! Oh! how I wish we'd meet papa." 

" We'll meet him soon, my sister." 

Poor Giovanni! Poor Teresa! Their father 
had met the man with whom he had important 
business, and was now lying on the plains with 
his face turned to the sky. 

" You're getting tired, my dear one," said 
Giovanni, half an hour later, noticing that Teresa 
was moving on with difficulty. 

" I'm cold, Giovanni, and I'm sleepy. Ask 
God to send papa." 



156 The Children of the Snow. 

"Ah!" cried Giovanni, "here's a place to 
rest — this tree. Here, . my dear one, put your 
head against the trunk." 

Teresa threw herself wearily upon the snow. 
Giovanni wrapped her up cozily about the 
shoulders. 

" Are your feet cold, Teresa? " 

" A little, Giovanni; it's nothing." 

Giovanni threw off his coat. 

" No, brother, put it on again.' 

" I don't need it, Teresa." 

"You must not, Giovanni;" and Teresa's 
eyes filled with tears of entreaty. 

" Oh, I've a splendid idea," cried Giovanni, 
throwing off his jacket. " I don't need my 
jacket at all. I don't suffer from cold much;" 
and Giovanni resuming his coat wrapped his 
jacket snugly about the feet and stockings of his 
sister. As he was doing this he noticed that her 
eyes were closing, and his heart sank. 

" Teresa! Teresa! " he cried. 

" What, Giovanni? " she answered, opening 
her eyes and smiling sweetly. 

" Teresa, my dear utile one," said Giovanni, 
in soft, tender tones, " you mustn't go to sleep 
before you say your prayers." 

" Oh, dear no! Hear me say them, Gio- 



The Children of the Snow. 157 

vanni." And at once the child, assisted by her 
brother, took a kneeling position and repeated 
the sweet words learned from a mother's 
lips. 

" Teresa," continued Giovanni, " I want you 
to say one more prayer with me. It's an act of 
the love of God, and I want you to try and love 
Him, when you say it, as much as you can 

" I'll try, brother." 

And together from their innocent hearts they 
poured the prayer which such souls as theirs 
may best interpret aright. 

" Now, little sister, I'll watch." 

" Good-night, my Giovanni. How I wish it 
was morning, so I could see your dear face! 
Good-night." And Teresa's eyes closed wearily. 

No sooner was Giovanni assured that she was 
fast asleep than he took off his coat and tucked 
it tenderly about the little form. The little man 
— he was only nine — shivered and shook as the 
cold blast beat upon his frail form thus rudely 
exposed. But he cared little could he but save 
the gentle life under his charge. 

The snow was now beating down in rougher 
mood. It was sharp and biting. Giovanni 
drew out a handkerchief and placed it lightly 
over the upturned face. Then kneeling beside 



158 The Childreti of the Snow. 

his sister he prayed and shivered. Presently 
he grew faint, and fell beside the quiet form. 

He was still brave and hopeful. 

" Take me, God; let my little sister live." 
Then bringing himself close to Teresa he with- 
drew the handkerchief from her face and kissed 
her thrice. The sweet eyes opened, and the lips 
parted in a smile of love. 

" Good-night, Giovanni," whispered Teresa. 

; ' Good-night, Teresa;" and as he spoke her 
eyes closed again, his head sank beside hers, and 
cheek to cheek they took their rest. 

The sun rose next day upon a land all clad in 
white — clad in white as far as the eye could 
reach, save where beneath that lone tree two 
faces fixed in beauty, lovely in innocence, ap- 
peared above the snow in the mighty calm which 
mortal life knows not. 

They were found that day, but no one learned 
whence they had come. They were called the 
Children of the Snow. 

Their carnival had begun. 



Gbarlep's Dictor£** 

One bright Sunday morning, towards the 
beginning of winter, a goodly number of college 
boarders were assembled in the chapel to hold 
their monthly meeting in honor of the Sacred 
Heart. Among the members, on this day, was 
one whose name had but recently been entered 
on the list of candidates. Charley Adams was 
just turned fifteen; and any one who has had 
dealings with students knows that it is usually 
between the fourteenth and eighteenth years 
that a boy makes or unmakes his character. 
Many a little lad, whose waywardness had cost 
his professor countless acts of patience, suddenly 
turns about at this period, and takes the path 
that leads to noble manhood; and, alas that it 
should be so! many a child whose face had 
been the mirror of angelic innocence finds him- 

* I venture to publish this story, chiefly for the reason 
that it was my first attempt at writing for publication. It 
appeared originally in the Messenger of the Sacred Heart. 

159 



160 Charley's Victory, 

self, at the age of fifteen, turning aside into that 
" broad way that leadeth unto perdition." 

And which path had Charley chosen? Neither, 
as yet. He was standing almost irresolute at 
the cross-road, urged on the one hand by God's 
grace, and on the other rudely impelled by the 
forces of developing passions. Charley was of a 
high temper, and many a bright day had been 
clouded to him by some strong ebullition of pas- 
sion, produced by real or fancied insult. If it 
be true, as spiritual writers tell us, that great 
sensitiveness is often the prelude, to great saint- 
liness, Charley Adams had the making of a great 
servant of God. 

But now he was sitting in the chapel feeling 
almost unconsciously that the grand light of a 
new life was shining upon his soul. It was the 
light of meekness, the light of love; that light 
which enlighteneth every man that cometh into 
this world — the burning Heart of Jesus. He 
listened with intense interest to the words of the 
eloquent priest, who spoke of the unalterable 
meekness of the divine Heart. But he was 
specially impressed when the Father spoke of 
the blow Jesus had received from the servant of 
the high-priest. So feelingly did the speaker 
express himself, that Charley seemed to behold 



Charley s Victory. 16 1 

Jesus turning His mild but saddened eye, and 
requesting the servant to give testimony of the 
evil, if evil He had spoken. 

The services were concluded with Benediction. 
Charley left the chapel with a new and noble 
purpose in his breast. Oftentimes he had be- 
wailed his sensitiveness, but now he looked upon 
it as a precious gift. And Charley was deter- 
mined to imitate the meekness of Our Lord. 
That day (though he little knew it) was to afford 
his resolve a terrible test. 

At six o'clock of that evening, all the boys 
were assembled in the hall of studies. Charley 
passed the hour in hard work, and when the bell 
rang for recess he hurried to the yard, and made 
straight for the gymnasium. The twilight was 
fast merging into darkness, and it was difficult 
to make out the faces of his companions at any 
distance. He had begun swinging up and down 
on the parallel bars, when another student, 
Mason by name, came up and began exercising 
at the other end. This boy had lately come to 
the school, and was of a surly, disagreeable tem- 
per. He and Charley had passed many a bitter 
word, and Mason, who was slow to forgive, was 
anxious, as boys say, " to have it out." Un- 
conscious that any one was behind him, Charley 



1 62 Charley s Victory, 

made a long jump backward, alighting on the 
muscles of his arm. In doing so, he gave Mason 
a sharp kick upon the shin. 

" You done that a-purpose," sputtered out 
Mason, with more force than grammar. li I'll 
teach you something," saying which he advanced 
upon Charley and dealt him a sharp blow in the 
face. In a moment, Charley, his countenance 
flushed with anger, rushed at his opponent, 
caught him by the throat, and was about to in- 
flict summary vengeance, when the memory of 
Our Lord struck by the servant flashed before 
him. Almost involuntarily he released his 
grasp, and immediately his released aggressor 
began an impromptu war-dance about his per- 
son, inviting him to lt come on." By this time 
quite a number of boys had gathered around, 
and were not a little surprised to find Charley, 
the pluckiest boy in the school, defied by a mere 
"newcomer." 

" Mason," said Charley, mastering himself 
with an effort, " I kicked you' by accident; I 
didn't mean it. Will that satisfy you? ' 

" Then you don't want to fight? ' 

" No; I'll not fight now, nor at any other 
time," 



Charley s Victory. 163 

" Then just let me tell you this — you're a 
low coward." 

" Go for him, Charley," whispered a pugilistic 
youth; " you can get away with him easily." 

Charley's lips trembled. To be called a 
coward, and in public! But grace was strong in 
him, and, in a voice trembling with agitation, 
he answered: " In good time, Mason, I hope 
you will find that I am not a coward." Saying 
this he walked away, and hastened to the chapel. 
Here, in the dim light which the lamp of the 
sanctuary cast, he prayed long and fervently. 
Tears of bitterness rushed from his eyes; for his 
struggle had been no ordinary one. But the 
Heart that beat so lovingly in the tabernacle 
went out to him; a holy peace took possession 
of his soul, and he felt, at length, that joy of 
the heart which not all the riches of the world 
can give or take. 

In the meantime there was great excitement 
in the yard. Knots of boys were scattered here 
and there, reviewing the situation. Some of 
the smaller students dubbed Adams a coward. 
Others were unable to account for his conduct. 
But those who had seen him at the instruction 
of the morning fully understood and appre- 



164 Charley's Victory. 

ciated his position. Norton, the oldest of the 
students, on seeing Charley come out of the 
chapel advanced and shook him warmly by the 
hand. 

" Good for you, old fellow! " he said. " If 
some of the boys call you a coward, don't mind. 
You showed more heroism to-day in withholding 
your arm, than ever you did in using it." 

The next day Charley had to put up with an 
amount of disagreeable innuendoes. But he 
bore them bravely. Mason, the while, went 
around among his " set," and described in glow- 
ing terms how he had " taken down that 
Adams." 

That night there was a hard frost. On the 
following morning the ice was thick and the 
president of the college kindly gave the boys a 
holiday for skating. About three miles from 
the school-building there are several large ponds 
connected together, and called by common con- 
sent " The Lakes." Thither the boys repaired 
early in the morning, every one carrying a basket 
containing his dinner. The general rendezvous 
was established at the lake nearest the college; 
but many skated to the farthest, which was 
about a mile higher up. 

After dinner, Charley, who was an excellent 



Charley s Victory. 165 

skater, resolved to make a tour of discovery. 
The air was cool and bracing, and he set out 
alone at the top of his speed. He soon arrived 
at the farthest lake, and, finding the ice there 
much smoother than any he had yet found, he 
spent some hours on the glassy surface. The 
time seemed to keep speed with himself, so that 
on taking out his watch he found that the hour 
for returning to college had already expired. 
He was just starting to regain his companions, 
when he thought he heard a smothered cry as of 
some one in distress. He turned round quickly 
and hallooed with all his strength. Listening in- 
tently, he seemed to hear a still fainter cry borne 
upon the cold air. He made for the spot, which 
was near a thick grove of trees on the farthest 
bank. Arriving there, he spied a small creek 
thoroughly frozen. He again shouted, and his 
doubts were cleared by hearing a feeble call for 
help, which seemed to proceed from some one 
farther up the creek. " It must be one of the 
boys in trouble," he thought, and immediately 
he glided along the crystal surface. On turning 
a bend, he perceived a boy lying flat on the 
bank, apparently helpless. 

" Halloa! What's the trouble?" he ex- 
claimed. The reclining figure partly rose and 



1 66 Charley s Victory. 

revealed the face of George Mason. A deep 
flush of shame tinged Mason's cheek as he saw 
his injured schoolmate at his side. Charley, 
breathing a prayer of thanks to the Sacred Heart 
that he now had an opportunity of returning 
good for evil, smiled kindly, and said: " What's 
the trouble, George? " 

That word " George" was a speech in itself. 
Hitherto Charley had known him as Mason, and 
the poor fellow felt the sweetness of a kind word 
thrilling him. 

" O Charley! " he cried, " I am so glad that 
you have come! I sprained my ankle, and had 
just strength enough to get off the ice and throw 
myself on the cold ground. I have been lying 
here for two hours and am almost frozen." 

" Poor fellow! ' said Charley, in a tone of 
such feeling that George never forgot it; " I'll 
build a fire immediately and when you are well 
warmed up, we'll start for home. In, the mean- 
time you must wrap yourself well. I am warm 
and don't need my overcoat." Saying this, he 
took it off. 

" Oh, don't, Charley," said George; " you are 
too good to me. So kind to me! 

" Yes, but I will, George. I'm your doctor 
now, and you must obey." And Charley, with 



Charley s Victory. 167 

the tender hand of a- mother, gently wrapped 
up the poor, benumbed boy in his coat. " Now 
for a fire! " And suiting the action to the word, 
he quickly gathered some dead leaves and dry 
fagots. George gazed at him with intense 
shame, wonder, and gratitude, and, as Charley 
applied a match to the leaves, began to sob con- 
vulsively. " Why, what's the matter, George? 
Are you in pain? " 

" O Charley, I have been so unkind to you! 
Will you forgive me? " 

" With all my heart, George. I have forgiven 
you long ago. You have, instead of hurting 
me, done me a great benefit. " 

" How so? " asked George, as our young dis- 
ciple of the Sacred Heart kindly drew him 
nearer the fire. Charley related, in a few simple 
words, why he had refused to fight. George 
listened with growing astonishment and admira- 
tion. "Ah!" he exclaimed at the conclusion, 
" you were the hero; I have been brought up 
among rude boys, and " — here his voice faltered 
— " I never knew what it was to have a 
mother." 

It was now Charley's turn to be astonished. 
Never had a mother! Oh, what depths of sor- 
row are in these words! " What should I have 



1 68 Charley s Victory, 

been! " thought Charley; and his heart warmed 
towards the poor orphan. 

An hour passed on, then thoroughly warmed 
George essayed to walk; but it was a difficult 
task. His former enemy, now his fast friend, 
was obliged to support him on one side. In this 
manner they slowly made their way, in the gath- 
ering darkness, towards the college. And what 
a change had come over George! The rough, 
rude boy had become a simple, heartfelt peni- 
tent. And the change was permanent. A few 
days later George and Charley were known as 
Damon and Pythias. 



H $atcb of Xetters, 

WHEN Tommie R. rushed into the sanctum of 
The Delta, a college paper lately established at 
St. Maure's College, there was an air of excite- 
ment about him which prompted the entire staff 
to ask him in a breath what ailed him. But he 
gave them no time. 

" It's a shame," he burst out, " and I won't 
stand it." 

" Sit down," suggested the chief. 

" Not in this office," continued Tommie. 
" You fellows are a lot of thieves." 

The exchange editor blushed and placed a 
guilty hand over his bulging outside coat pocket. 

" You're the man," vociferated Tommie, 
shaking his finger at the exchange editor. " I 
got it out of the fellow in the small yard who 
writes the ' Waste Basket ' stuff." 

" Betrayed! " murmured the business manager 
gloomily. 

" I'll have the whole Delta staff arrested for 

robbing the mail." 

169 



170 A Batch of Letters. 

" Robbing the female," corrected the chief. 
" Only it happens that those letters were freely 
given to one of us by your mother." 

M And you intend publishing them in your old 
Delta?" 

"We do." 

" Then you stop my subscription," said Tom- 
mie, folding his arms. 

The staff was not so taken aback as he had 
counted on. No one moved except the business 
manager, who took down the subscription-book 
from the shelf above his desk. Then Tommie 
unfolded his arms and continued: 

"I'd rather die than see those letters of mine 
in cold print." 

Some of the associate editors here manifested 
signs of emotion. The youngest of them buried 
his face in his handkerchief. 

" Tommie," said the business manager, il sup- 
pose we have a little talk outside." 

They retired, held a few minutes' consulta- 
tion, then reappeared radiant. 

" He began by repeating that he'd die before 
he'd sanction the printing of his letters," said 
the business manager, " but he ended by accept- 
ing a two-dollar order on the candy-store." 

" Don't make yourself sick, little boy," said 



A Batch of Letters. 171 

the chief severely, as Tommie received a written 
order for two dollars' worth of merchandise, 
" good only at the candy-store/' 

" Aw! " retorted Tommie. " I won't get 
sick on the candy; but if I hear any more of 
your second-hand jokes, like the ones you got 
off on me just now, I will." 

And with this parting shot Tommie de- 
parted. 

And now for the letters: 

Letter I. 

St. Maure's College, Sept. 5, '95. 
Mr. and Mrs. TJiomas R. : 

My Deer Parents. — I got here to-day at 
two, and i want to go home again. It is a gale, 
and i am prisoner. I wish i was dead. I cannot 
live here. Send me tickets to Get home. If 
you do, i'll be a modle boy. I'll go to bed 
when you say so, and I'll get up as soon as ma 
calls. I think i shall dye, if i stay hear longer. 
The boys here are horrid. If i die, pleas Bury 
me at home. I hear that the cercus is going to 
be in St. Louis next weak. Coodn't i start by 
Saturday ? That would bring me Home on 
Sunday. I am desperit. I feel like Killing 
some one. I'll bet my brother Charlie is not 
feeding my Kennary bird right. Pleas send 

tickets right off. 

Your beloved sun, 

Tommie R. 



172 A Batch of Letters. 

LETTPJR II. 

St. Maure's, Kas., Sept. 6, '95. 

My Deer Parents : I sent you a letter last 
night. Why don't you anser? Hurry up and 
take me away. Last night i slept in a Dormer- 
tinning. It's a place where there is nothing but 
Beds. How can a fellow Sleep with a hundred 
boys around him? It is an out rag. I coodn't 
sleep there at all. Just a little after i got into 
bed the prefect came along and wolke me up out 
of a Sound sleep and told me not to sleep on 
my back, But on my side, so that i woodn't 
snore and disturb the other boys. I did so, but 
naturally i got my back up at such treatment. 
My Apetit is going. I feel just the way I did 
before I had scarlet fever last year and nearly 
dyed. My money is all gone. I did not waist 
it, either. I spent most of It on Karamels, 
which are good and healthy. Send me some 
more money. 

This morning at breckfust a boy was very rude 
to me. When I got done eating I did the way 
I used to do at home. I stretched my arms and 
threw my hed back and had a good yawn. 
While I was in the middle of it, a fellow beside 
me caught my mouth and tried to Keep it open. 
I managed to shut it, and when I asked him 
what he Ment, he said he wanted to see how i 
was made inside. 

Wasn't he rude? I would have licked him, 
only i saw that he was stronger than me. All 



A Batch of Letters. 173 

the boys here are Like him. Your little sun will 
be very rude when he comes home. Pleas send 
tickets and money right away. 

Your beloved sun, 

Tommie R. 
P. S. — A big prefect has just scolded me for 
talking in the study hall. Send me my tickets 
n nd Money by telegraf, or i * 11 do sumthin desperit. 

Letter III. 

St. Maure's, Kas., Sept. 7, '95. 

My Deer Parents : My hart is breaking. I 
have been studying Latin for an hour, and it is 
awful. To-day in class the teacher read my first 
Composition, and he called me an awful name. 
He said I was funetzc, and then he made fun of 
my spelling. I asked a boy in the poetry class 
what funetic meant, and he said it was a Learned 
way of calling me a Dodo. When are you going 
to send me tickets? Why don't you anser all 
my letters? I had a little fun to-day. I plaid 
a game of Ball against a brick wall. They call 
it hand ball, because you do it mostly with your 
hands; but i saw one fellow use his feat. 

But to night i am loan Some. Tell sister 
Aimy that when i get home i'm going to be a 
good bruther to her. Just take me away from 
this gale and i'll be the best boy you ever saw. 
I am lone some, becos i love you all so much. 
I'll never Anser back agan. I'll do eggsackly 
what i'm told. If the tickets don't come to- 



174 A Batch of Letters. 

morrow, i shall pon my wotch and sell my Sunday 
close, and come home on a Frate. 

Your beloved son, 

Tommie R. 

Letter IV. 

St. Maure's, Kas., Sept. 8. 

Friday Morning. 

My Deer Parents : We had eggs for b reek- 
fust. I hate eggs. Last night i was so home- 
sick in bed. Before i fell asleep there was a big 
tier resting upon my cheek. That was becos i 
was thinking of you, my deer parents, and of 
Sister Aimy and Brother Charlie, and the baby, 
and my pet white mouse. O, it is dredful lying 
awake at nite when all is still. I can't stand 
another nite hear. If my tickets don't come to 
day i shall dye. I had an awful stummuk Ake 
this morning. The doctor said it was to much 
candy. The doctor is an idjet. It is my health 
that is breaking down. 

When are you going to anser my letters, and 
when are you going to send on tickets? 

Your beloved sun, 

TOMMIE R. 

Letter V. 

Friday Night. 

My Deer Parents : You need not send or\ 

those tickets until nex Wensday. I belong to a 

base ball nine hear now, and Play short stop. 

To day we plaid a game against a nuther team 



A Batch of Letters. 175 

our size, and we taut them a lesson. I made 
three put outs and too assists without a Nerror. 
I also stole second baste twice. I also made a 
base-hit, and the captain of our nine said i was 
a Bird. 

The boys hear call me Webster, cos on 
account of my spelling. Do you know of a man 
named Webster? We are going to play a 
nuther match game nex Chewsday. That's the 
reason i'm not in a hurry for those tickets. 

But then i must go. I don't think I should 
like to spend a hole year in this gale. 

Your beloved sun, 

Tommie R. 

Letter VI. 

St. Maure's, Kas. 
Sunday Morning. 

My Deer Parents : Last night i went to cun- 
feshun, and this morning i went to communion. 
I have a scrupel. Some of the things I said in 
my letters were exagerasliuns. This place is not 
a gale, but it is strikt. The boys are not all 
Mene, but some of them are. The teachers are 
not all mene either. When i said i expected to 
dye i told a lye. Pardon me, my deer parents, 
for these faults; I have confessed them. 

I think i should like to go home. Give my 
love to the baby, and to Aimy and Charlie. 

I got your letter and was awful glad to get 
the dollar bill. 



176 A Batch of Letters. 

I have a chum now; his name is Willie Jones. 
I have also a lot of other frends. 

Your beloved sun, 

Tommie R. 
P. S. — I can wait two weeks for those tickets. 
We have four match games on hand. 

Letter VII. 

St. Maure's, Sept. 25, 1895. 

My Dear Parents : The president of this col- 
lege has just hauled me over the coals for not 
writing to you. He says you have written to 
him to know whether I was sick. 

Sick ! I guess not. I catch behind the bat 
now. I haven't time to write. When I'm not 
studying I'm having fun. This is a jolly place. 
What are you talking about sending me tickets 
for? I don't want to go home. It is just the 
way I said. I always new I should like this 
place. It was you, my dear parents, that was 
croaking. 

Maybe I growled a little in my first letter, 
but I didn't growl near as much as you make 
out. Tell my brother he can have my pigeons 
and my white mouse. I dont have time to miss 
you much, or I would. The boy who says St. 
Maure's is a jail is a snitch. After this I shall 
write you every month. We have not lost a 
game yet. I am studying hard, and now when 
I write I use a dictionery, and get a boy in a 
higher class to help me correct my speling. 



A Batch of Letters. 177 

That is the reason you will find no speling faults 
in this letter. 

I intend to stay here till I graduate. We are 
going to play another match game to-morrow. 
Good-bye. 

Your beloved son, 

Tommie R. 



H IDerp {Unpopular »og. 

CHAPTER I. 

IN WHICH JOHN QUINLIVAN GETS INTO TROUBLE 
WITH HIS PROFESSOR. 

<4 Collect the themes," announced the pro- 
fessor of Latin class, as he took his seat after 
the opening prayers. He was facing some forty 
odd boys, varying in age from ten to fifteen 
years. They were a bright, cheerful, and in 
general neatly dressed body of lads, and, taking 
them all in all, wore that indescribable air of 
youthful good-nature and ordered sprightliness 
which to the practised eye indicates the best 
understanding between master and pupil. 

The " collecting of themes " involved almost 
necessarily some disorder. Many set to work 
unstrapping their books and fluttering over the 
leaves in quest of the day's theme; others, fewer 
in number, instituted a search in their various 

pockets; others, again, of the more methodical 

178 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 179 

at once produced their tasks, and proceeded to 
smooth them out, eliciting the peculiar crink- 
ling noise which distinguishes the unfolding of 
foolscap. All this confusion was accentuated by 
the movements of four bright, active little lads 
— each representing one of the four rows of 
desks — who bustled about, hurriedly snatching 
the papers from those who had them at hand, 
and urging on with loud-whispered importunity 
the laggards. 

At length the papers were all gathered in, and 
placed upon the professor's desk. To a disin- 
terested spectator it would have been an agree- 
able study to watch the master's face as he took 
up theme after theme, and glanced at each much 
as an art-lover might survey a painting. I do 
not ta.y it was an agreeable study to the boys 
directly concerned: to some of them, indeed, it 
was; to all of them it was at least interesting. 
Evidently interesting, too; for every eye was 
fixed on Mr. Frank with an earnestness plainly 
evincing that the owner was striving to read, if 
not " the day's disaster," at least the verdict as 
expressed on the teacher's telltale countenance. 

It would hardly be an exaggeration to say 
that during the inspection of the first fourteen 
or fifteen themes Mr. Frank's face was wreathed 



180 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

in smiles, while words, as it were, of honey 
dropped from his lips. The subject of these 
good words endeavored to look unconcerned, 
but he was an astute boy who could listen to 
Mr. Frank's honest and measured meed of praise 
without flushing with gratification. 

But others yet remained to be noticed. The 
eyes of some were bright and steady with hope, 
those of a few were flickering like a neglected 
and spent taper. One boy, seated somewhat 
back from the middle of the room, his half- 
averted face resting on his hand, was looking 
drearily at his boots. 

As Mr. Frank took up the sixteenth theme 
his face settled. 

" Look at this, boys." He held up at full 
length an exercise smeared and blotted. 

The class as one man caught its breath — some- 
body was " in for it." 

There was a pause — an awful pause. 

" This is too bad," he resumed, indignantly. 
" Quinlivan! " 

The boy who had been eying his sorry boots 
raised his head. 

li Come here, sir! 

Quinlivan arose and advanced in an awkward, 
shambling way to Mr. Frank's desk. He was 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 181 

poorly and untidily dressed. His long legs, 
ungainly in themselves, were made yet more 
ungainly by his short, ill-fitting trousers (" high- 
waters," the boys dubbed them), which were 
sadly frayed at the extremities. A melancholy 
faded, blue necktie, dotted with ink-marks, but 
half-concealed a shabby checked shirt. His 
jacket of a dead color was patched here and 
there, undue prominence being given to the 
patches at each elbow. Nor did his face offset 
his dilapidated wardrobe and his lank, angular 
build. It was a face of the hangdog order. 
His slightly freckled cheeks were somewhat hol- 
low — certainly in nowise chubby. His mouth 
was large, his chin retreating, and his eyes, dull 
and restless, had a stealthy trick of glancing 
askance, which certainly told against him. He 
rarely looked one straight in the face; when he 
did, his glance bore an air of effrontery. His 
expression it would be difficult to analyze. It 
was not sad, nor was it cheerful, nor could it 
be styled placid. Some would say that his look 
was one of half-smirking complacency; others 
would pronounce it dogged. Mr. Frank had set 
him down as a character three parts obstinacy 
and one part bitterness. 

" Well, Quinlivan, here's another unfinished 



1 82 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

exercise; and what you have done is so poor 
that it is not worth the wretched paper it's 
written on. /can't read it: can you? ' 

Quinlivan threw a stealthy look at the teacher, 
then lowered his eyes, and smiled. 

His conduct in the eyes of the class and mas- 
ter was anything but propitiatory. With an 
effort Mr. Frank mastered his temper, which 
was fast rising. 

" Haven't I. '•"old you, John Quinlivan, and 
every boy in this class, again and again, since the 
beginning of the school year, that whenever you 
fail to finish your theme you should give me 
your excuse in private before handing it in? ' 

John Quinlivan smiled weakly. 

" Will you please answer me? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Very good. Have you any excuse? " 

" No, sir." 

Mr. Frank was mortified. It was but one 
month since the opening" of school. In this 
short time he had labored with all the earnest- 
ness of an enthusiast at bringing his class into 
working order; and he had been quite success- 
ful. In addition to infusing a spirit of study and 
piety into his pupils, he had taught them to adopt 
habits of tidiness and order. He was a young 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 183 

teacher — it was his third year at the work — but 
in his dealings with boys he was a model tacti- 
cian. Yet in his otherwise smooth path there 
stood one stumbling-block. Day after day 
brought no change upon Quinlivan. Privately 
and in public, time and again, had Mr. Frank 
spoken to him. He had employed kindness, 
persuasion, severity — all to no effect. The boy 
seemed to be grooved in obstinacy. And so 
Mr. Frank had gradually come to the conclusion 
that the shabby, shambling student was a diffi- 
cult subject indeed. 

" Take this exercise to the Prefect of Studies," 
said Mr. Frank sternly; " Fve spoken to you 
enough on this matter." 

Quinlivan, with his weak smile, left the room. 
He returned presently, handed his teacher a 
note, and took his seat, his facial expression un- 
changed. 

The note read: 

11 Have spoken to John Q. Hope he will do 
better, but must confess can get nothing definite 
from him. If he do not improve, send him 
again." 



184 A Very Unpopular Boy. 



CHAPTER II. 

IN WHICH JOHN QUINLIVAN GETS INTO TROUBLE 
WITH HIS CLASSMATES. 

JOHN QUINLIVAN rarely indulged with his fel- 
lows in play. During the recesses he was gen- 
erally to be found seated in a retired corner of 
the playground, whittling a stick or indulging in 
a broken conversation with some chance com- 
panion. 

During the recess immediately following his 
introduction to the reader he was at his usual 
place alone. But he was not fated to enjoy his 
solitude long. He noticed that several of his 
classmates were bunched together, holding an 
informal consultation; and though they were 
standing beyond earshot, he divined from their 
gestures and stray glances that he was the sub- 
ject of their remarks. 

" He's smart enough," Ed Ronald was say- 
ing. " Sometimes I've seen him get up a lesson 
while Mr. Frank was asking the fellows in front 
of him." 

" Of course, he's as smart as any of us," 
added little Joe Hornung, a very small boy 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 185 

with a highly intellectual face. " Why, one 
morning when he got here in time for the half- 
hour's study before Mass, he wrote out a very 
nice Latin theme; and Mr. Frank praised him 
for it, too. It had only one mistake. Mine 
had none. His was second best." 

" Ah — I guess he's lazy," put in John Mullen, 
with an expression of disdain upon his thin but 
animated face. 

u He looks like a hard case," said Frank 
Trainer critically, " and he acts like one, too. 
He's downright impertinent to Mr. Frank. If I 
were in Mr. Frank's place I — I'd kick him." 

" He's the only boy in our class that doesn't 
act nicely towards the teacher," said Jimmie 
Keeler, who had just succeeded in pinning a tail 
to Charlie Gating's coat and was trying to 
appear unconscious of the comic effect. " I 
think, boys, we ought to bring him to time." 

" At least we might give him some kind of a 
hint," suggested Ed Ronald. " When a boy 
gets a nice teacher he ought to appreciate him." 

" Suppose you speak to him, Ed," said Frank 
Trainer. " You're the best talker." 

" And besides, you're the biggest," put in 
little Joe. 

The suggestion seemed to meet with the ap- 



1 86 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

probation of the entire caucus. After some 
demur, Ed finally accepted the commission, and 
walked, over to Quinlivan. 

" See here, John," he said, kindly, " why 
don't you try to get on with our teacher? " 

" He doesn't like me," John made answer, 
slowly and after due reflection. 

il I don't know about that. But why should 
he like yOu? " 

Quinlivan picked up a stick and began whit- 
tling. 

" I don't know. I haven't done anything 
against him. The boys don't like me either." 

" That's your own fault. It's your — well, 
your stand-offishness that sets them against you. 
You never play with them and don't seem to 
trust them. And besides, you are mean to Mr. 
Frank." 

Quinlivan opened his mouth as if to speak, 
but seemed in the very act to change his mind. 
He brought his lips together again, looked at his 
stick, and fell into what is called a " brown 
study." Ed's eyes in the meantime, beaming 
with friendly earnestness, were upon him. 

" What were you going to say, John? ' 

Again John hesitated; but finally in a low, 
subdued tone, he said: 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 187 

" They don't like me because I'm poor." 

" Nov/ that's too much," cried Ed, hotly. 
" You're a goose! I'm as poor as a church 
mouse myself, and have all the trouble in the 
world to dress neatly, and the boys know I've 
hardly ever a cent to my name; and yet they're 
all nice to me — just as nice as if I were a million- 
aire. 

Ed was really angry. He had no idea what 
it was to harbor an unworthy suspicion. Noble 
himself, he judged the ordinary actions of his 
playmates from his own high standard. But, 
after all, he was an inexperienced boy, and could 
make little allowance for those who viewed 
matters from a less lofty standpoint. In his 
estimation Quinlivan's remark was mean and 
shabby in the extreme. 

" You'd better try to do what the teacher 
says," he added harshly, as he brushed away. 

Quinlivan smiled, but said nothing. 

CHAPTER III. 

IN WHICH JOHN QUINLIVAN WINS A LITTLE SYMPATHY 
FROM A LITTLE FRIEND. 

Two weeks passed on, and for several days 
John Quinlivan had not appeared at school. 



1 88 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

But just as the boys were beginning to miss him 
" from his accustomed place," he again entered 
the class-room one morning, everything about 
him, from his faded-blue necktie, patched jacket, 
and sorry boots to his freckled face, jaunty air, 
and weak smile, unchanged. 

It came out during the day that his father had 
died. In spite of their growing dislike for him 
the boys showed in various pretty, quiet ways 
their sympathy. But he ignored all covert over- 
tures. 

Little Joe, however, the " child of the class " 
— he was an enfant terrible in asking the professor 
knotty questions — was not to be balked. 

He approached Quinlivan at recess, and held 
out his tiny hand. 

" What do you want? " asked Quinlivan, as 
he awkwardly caught the tips of Joe's fingers. 

11 I'm sorry for you, John," said Joe frankly. 

" You needn't bother: I'm all right." And 
John released his sympathizer's hand. 

" Don't you feel very bad? ' asked Joe, 
looking into Quinlivan's face with some per- 
plexity. 

" I don't know." 

My papa is dead, and my mamma too," 



i i 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 189 

said Joe gently, " They died when I was a 
baby," 

Quinlivan raised his head and gazed at Joe's 
pitying face earnestly. As he gazed the tears 
started to his eyes. He arose hastily, caught 
Joe's hand, pressed it, and hurried away. 

" He's not so bad after all," thought little 
Joe. 

But as the weeks went on, Quinlivan's ways 
held their former tenor. Long-continued arrears 
in his tasks brought him to lower depths of dis- 
grace; and when Joe would remark to his class- 
mates, " I'm sure he's not all bad," he stood 
alone in his opinion. 

CHAPTER IV. 

IN WHICH MR. FRANK PAYS JOHN QUINLIVAN A 
VISIT, AND LEARNS A FEW THINGS NOT IN- 
CLUDED IN THE USUAL CURRICULUM OF 
STUDIES. 

Early in the winter Quinlivan was again 
missed from class. After a week's absence Mr. 
Frank called Ronald. 

il Ed, do you know the city pretty well? " 

" I think I do," answered Ed modestly. 

" Then I wish you would do me a favor. 



190 A Very Unpopular Boy, 

Look up Quinlivan's place, and let me know. 
It's out towards the river in St. Prospers 
parish, but the exact address, through some 
oversight, is not down on our register." 

" I'll find it, sir. And," pursued Ed with a 
smile, "if it takes me much time, you won't 
mind my missing to-morrow's theme, will you?" 
" Good-evening, Ed," laughed the teacher. 
Next morning Ed returned with Quinlivan's 
address, and stated that the boy's mother was in 
a dying condition. 
Mr. Frank started. 

" Oh, the poor boy! " he ejaculated; " what a 
life he has been leading this year! God has 
deprived him of his father, and is now taking his 
mother — and all this time I have scarcely given 
him a kind word! " 

That evening, when class had finished, Mr. 
Frank, after half an hour's walk, made his way 
through a foul alley to the address Ed had given 
him. He found himself before a large, ugly 
tenement-house. In the gutter beside it some 
wretched little children were at play. One of 
them, a little girl in tatters, approached him and 
gazed upon him with undisguised interest. 

" Well, little girl, could you tell me where 
Mrs. Quinlivan lives in this house? " 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 191 

il She's dying, sir." 

<4 Indeed. Could you show me her room? ' 
Yes, sir. 

The girl preceded him, pattering up a flight 
of stairs, and along a porch which served the 
common convenience of all the lodgers on the 
second floor, the doors of their respective rooms 
— some twenty in number — opening out upon 
it. Walking nearly the full length of this porch, 
the little girl stopped, and, pointing to one of 
the doors, said, " That's it, sir," and tripped 
away. 

Mr. Frank knocked. 

No answer from within. 

He knocked again, and strained his ears to 
catch the least sound. 

He could catch no intimation to enter, but he 
heard what he fancied to be the sobbing and 
wailing of one in unrestrained grief. 

He again knocked, and receiving no answer 
boldly pushed the door open. 

The room, bare of all furniture, save a table, 
two chairs, a picture of the Mother of Sorrows, 
a bed, and a cooking-stove, with the most neces- 
sary utensils, presented a touching scene. 

Kreeling beside the bed, John Quinlivan was 
weeping without restraint, his cheek resting 



192 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

tenderly beside the hollow, hectic-flushed cheek 
of his dying mother. 

" John," said Mr. Frank gently. 

John sprang to his feet, dashed the tear-drops 
from his eyes, and stood looking — was it in won- 
der, fright, pleasure, or a combination of these 
emotions? — at the unexpected visitor. 

"Is it your teacher, John? " came a feeble 
voice from the bed. 

" Yes, mother." 

John's grief, seemingly at least, was now en- 
tirely subdued. He wore, it might be said, the 
ghost of his habitual expression. 

"Thank God!" the mother exclaimed. 
" Mr. Frank, next to the priest of God, whom I 
have seen, I wished to see you. I wanted John 
to ask you to call on me; but he feared to ask 
you, and I didn't insist. John is so bashful." 

Mr. Frank started. John bashful? That was 
a new factor to be taken into consideration in 
summing up John's character. 

" My poor friend," he said, approaching the 
bedside and taking the mother's outstretched 
hand, " God knows I would have come before 
had I known you were so sick. How long have 
you been in bed? " 

" Almost entirely the last two months and a 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 193 

half; indeed, since the second week of John's 
going to school." 

" And who has been caring for you? " 
" My darling John. Oh, Mr. Frank, God has 
blessed me in my child. He has been so good 
to me! Night after night has he been by my 
side. Didn't he ever tell you, when he used to 
come late to class, how he was up with me till 
late in the night? " 

" He has never even told me you were sick." 
" Poor boy! You must excuse him for his 
awkward reserve, Mr. Frank. Till last summer 

he was under his father's care almost entirely. 
He was thrown among bad characters, and 
treated harshly by all, even by his father, whom 
may God forgive. His father and I were sepa- 
rated, through no fault of mine, for five years — 
since John was eight. No wonder, then, that 
my John, after such years of misery, should be 
suspicious and reserved. But if you knew him 
as I do, Mr. Frank, you would love him." 

Mr. Frank was listening to a revelation. Tears 
sprang to his eyes, and he begged God to forgive 
him for the wrong he had done — unwittingly, he 
hoped — to a noble boy. 

" John," he said in a husky voice, " come 
here." 



1 94 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

The boy obeyed. 

" John, in the presence of your mother whom 
you love, in her name, for her sake, will you 
forgive me? Oh, I have wronged you so bit- 
terly! " 

John caught the teacher's hand, and as he 
grasped it, burst into a flood of weeping. 

" It was my fault," he cried, " it was — it was. 
But I couldn't help it, sir. I couldn't talk to 
you nor any one. I was afraid." 

The teacher kept the boy's hand, and pressed- 
lt warmly. 

How his views had changed in a few seconds! 
John an obstinate boy! He was one of God's 
noble souls. Brought up by a wretched, besotted 
father, his sensitive spirit had been chilled and 
frozen under contempt, neglect, and all mariner 
of ill-usage, till he feared acquaintance and 
stranger alike — till the confiding simplicity of 
the child had been hardened and shaped into an 
unlovely and suspicious reserve. John negligent 
in his studies! He had been mastering a child's 
noblest study — a mother's needs. John untidy! 
Oh, there was the neat bed, the ordered room, 
beautiful in its poverty, and the gentle-faced 
dying mother to give that accusation the lie. 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 195 

For a long time did Mr. Frank hold converse 
with the mother. For years had she labored 
and saved to lay by some money for her child. 
At the price of her life — poor, fond mother — 
she had amassed a few hundred dollars, and with 
a part of this money had she induced the 
drunkard father to forego his claim upon the 
boy. 

il But," she continued with a faint sigh of 
resignation, lt I have been obliged to spend most 
of it on myself. Here," she added, producing 
a warm pocket-book, " are ninety-three dollars 
left. Will you, Mr. Frank, take them in charge 
for my boy? " 

" John," said Mr. Frank, " can you trust me 
after all that has passed? " 

" I do trust you, sir; indeed I do," sobbed 
the boy. 

Then I shall take this money. And more: 
I have wronged you sadly, John. With God's 
help I shall repair that wrong. Mrs. Quinlivan, 
I solemnly promise you that as far as in me lies, 
I shall see to your boy's getting a college educa- 
tion. I have no money myself, but I have a 
friend whose purse has long been at my disposal 
for any worthy cause. I never knew what a 



196 A Very Unpopular Boy. 

blessing his long-offered help might prove. 
Thank God I can carry out the plan which God 
in His providence is taking from your charge." 

The mother's face became thrice beautiful in 
its tranquil happiness. 

Before night had fairly settled, a nurse ap- 
peared in Mrs. Quinlivan's chamber; and later 
there came to the house an express wagon with 
all manner of pleasant things to soften the last 
hours of the invalid. Mr. Frank had seen his 
friend at once; and the friend had not been slow 
to make good his promises. 

For the first time in several months John 
Quinlivan slumbered the night through without 
interruption. 

CHAPTER V. 

IN WHICH JOHN QUINLIVAN MAKES HIS BOW UNDER 
HAPPIER AUSPICES. 

Mr. Frank, on the following morning, made 
a very impressive address to his class. He 
spoke on rash judgment. After denouncing 
those who were offenders in this species of fault, 
he capped the climax by announcing himself as 
an offender. Then in a clear narrative he went 
over the school career of John Quinlivan, their 



A Very Unpopular Boy. 197 

absent schoolmate, and explained its new mean- 
ing in the light of the deathbed scene. 

" Boys," he concluded, li I tried to be just, 
but I must have been hasty. I have learned a 
lesson I shall never forget; and from this out I 
shall be a better teacher. For the best teacher 
is he who interprets aright the conduct of his 
pupils, and takes each according to his char- 
acter." 

How the boys did applaud that slim, neatly 
dressed, quiet boy, John Quinlivan, when not 
many weeks later he received the class prize for 
excellence in the Latin theme. 

A year has passed. He is still stiff and re- 
served, but growing less so day by day. All 
the boys are particularly kind to him ; and 
whenever he seems harsh and unsociable, they 
remember the long thorny path of wretchedness 
which John once trod in silent bravery, and they 
return his seeming coldness with winning and 
unaffected love* 



/!&£ Strange iFrietifc, 
I. 

A FEW days after Christmas, I was sitting in 
my room, nursing an incipient cold, and won- 
dering when my health would permit me to re- 
turn to the seminary. At this period of my life 
I was heir to many ills, prominent among which 
was the dyspepsia. Headache in the morning 
from eight to ten, headache in the afternoon from 
two till about four, headache at night from 
seven indefinitely, then bed ; — this constituted 
my daily order, dull enough surely in the read- 
ing, but painfully dismal in the realization. 

The cessation of my morning headache was 
almost due, when my sister, singing gayly, 
tripped into my room with a letter, which she 
handed me with a mock bow. 

11 I am very much obliged to you, my dear, 
for bringing me this letter," I remarked; "but 
now really couldn't you dispense with your fem- 
inine war-whoop when you're in my room? " 

198 



My Strange Friend. 199 

"Oh, you great, big, dyspeptic bear," she 
laughed out, "you want me to take pattern 
after yourself, and go about like an unsuccessful 
undertaker? " 

I felt my gorge rising at her remark, and was 
tempted to say something ungracious and bitter, 
as she danced out through the doorway. That's 
the way with us dyspeptics: we have no sym- 
pathy for sweet human life, and are especially 
high with our near relatives. 

Without stopping, however, to analyze my 
feelings, I tore open the letter and read : 

Fairmount Grove, Jan. 12, 1874. 

Mr. Thomas Maxon: 

Dear old Tom, I can never forgive myself the 
language I used previous to our parting. What 
a pity that supper ever came off at all. But I 
am now so heartily ashamed and penitent that I 
know you will forgive and forget. And now 
you can do me a great, a ^ery great service, and 
I feel positive that you will not refuse me. I 
have heard that you are unwell. Come out here 
in the pure country air and spend a month with 
me. It will surely do you good, while beyond all 
doubt it will serve me untold gain. O my dear, 
dear friend (for I trust that you have already for- 
given me, and are my friend again), come and see 
me. I have changed greatly, and am very misera- 
ble. The strange darkness that has come over 



2oO My Strange Friend* 

my life, I may not, cannot tell. Some terrible 
power imposes silence upon me, though I would 
give worlds to confide it to you, dear Tom. But 
come, come ; let yourself be the answer to this 
note. Ever your loving friend, 

Wilber Stone. 

I read this letter with mingled sentiments of 
pleasure and of pain: pleasure, that it recon- 
ciled me with the dearest friend of my boyhood ; 
pain, that, judging by the tenor of his commu- 
nication, a terrible, saddening change had come 
upon him. 

Wilber Stone and myself had been chums at 
college. Beginning together, we had gone on 
from class to class, dividing (let me say in all 
modesty) the honors between us. While study- 
ing Rhetoric, a prize was offered for the best 
essay on Longfellow. We were both admirers 

of the poet, and set to work at the task with 

« 
ardor. The day before the essays were to be 

handed in, Wilber, on invitation, came to my 
house to see my paper. He read it carefully, 
praising what pleased him, and, like a true friend, 
frankly pointing out what he considered its de- 
fects. 

" Well, Wilber," I said when he had finished, 
" suppose you let me see your own essay." 



My Strange Friend. 201 

" Willingly," he answered, and took from his 
coat a bundle of manuscript. 

I read it eagerly. 

" It's no use my handing in," I remarked, 

when I had come to the end of it. " Your essay 

will certainly take first place ; no boy in the class 

can come near it." 

" You think it better than your own?" 

''Better!' I exclaimed warmly. "Why, 
Wilber, I couldn't write like that in a year's 
time. Yes, Wilber, my boy, I'm beaten 
squarely." 

A strange look came over his face. But, in- 
stead of continuing the conversation, he caught 
up his hat, bade me good-evening, and abruptly 
left the house. 

A month later the gold medal was awarded. 

" The prize for the best essay on Longfellow 

is awarded to " Here the vice-president of 

the college paused to clear his throat. I was 
sitting next to Wilber, and patted him on the 
back. 

" Get ready to go up, old boy," I whisp- 
ered. 

Wilber's face was strangely pale ; and so ner- 
vous had he grown that he was unable to return 
my smile. 



202 My Strange Friend. 

" Is awarded," the vice-president continued, 
4 'to Thomas Maxon." 

This was one of the greatest surprises of my 
school life. Amidst hearty applause, I found 
myself — how I got there I know not — on the 
stage, receiving from the hands of the president 
the gold medal. But I was far from being satis- 
fied. 

"Wilber," I said, when I had regained my 
seat, " this is a mistake." 

" Next in merit," continued the vice-presi- 
dent, now that the applause had subsided, 
" George Murray and Francis Elaine." 

"What! ' I gasped. " Why, you're not 
even mentioned. I'm going to ask our pro- 
fessor about this just as soon as this • affair is 
over." 

" No, no, Tom," whispered Wilber, more 
nervous than before; "you mustn't do any 
such thing. You have honestly earned the 
medal." 

I attributed his nervousness and his words to 
bitter disappointment. 

" But I will," I answered hotly, for I was 
burning with indignation at what I could not 
but consider a cruel mistake. 

My dear friend spent some time in persuading 



My Strange Friend. 203 

me not to make any inquiries in the matter; but 
he was unsuccessful. 

"Mr. Warden," I said, touching my cap to 
my professor as we met outside the exhibition 
hall, " how is it that Wilber got no mention for 
his essay on Longfellow? I read it, and felt 
sure that his was far superior to mine." 

"The reason is simple," answered Mr. 
Warden. " Wilber neglected to hand in his 
essay." 

Then the truth flashed upon me. I turned 
away with the tears standing in my eyes. The 
medal was now indeed valuable to me ; it was 
the sacred memorial of a heroic act of friendship. 

But poor Wilber, noble as he was, had grave 
faults. He exhibited two traits which made me 
tremble for his future. One was an ungovern- 
able pride ; the other, an outgrowth of the first, 
an unwillingness to take advice. He went 
through life il at his own sweet will." 

The latter defect came into prominence dur- 
ing our year of philosophy. He grew captious 
about revealed truth, sneered at the classic 
answers to philosophical and theological difficul- 
ties, and occasionally gave voice to opinions 
which shocked me. Despite my protestations, 
and the warning of some of the professors who 



204 My Strange Friend. 

took a deep interest in him, he chose as a friend 
a fellow-student whose standing, both as to 
class and to character, was at the lowest. In- 
sensibly there arose a coolness between us ; not 
that we ceased to be friends, but that our plans 
and pursuits had become so widely divergent. 

On the night of Commencement exercises we 
philosophers, having finished our course, sat 
down to a parting banquet before separating in 
the great world. 

The first hour passed pleasantly enough, 
though I noticed with uneasiness that Wilber 
was drinking freely. By and by the talk turned 
upon the valedictory which I had delivered. 

"The allusion to Our Lord you brought in," 
said one, " was very beautiful, and, at the same 
time, came in so naturally." 

Wilber gave a scornful laugh, — such a laugh 
that conversation came to a stop, and all eyes 
turned upon him. 

Then, flushed with wine, he spoke such words 
of Our Saviour as I have not the heart to record. 

Every one present was aghast at the blasphe- 
mous language; many looked at me. They 
knew that I was shortly to enter a seminary, 
and seemed by common consent to place me in 
the position of spokesman. 



My Strange Friend. 205 

" Wilber, " I said, rising, — and the pain I felt 
at that moment I shall never forget, — " I cannot 
stay in your company if you choose to speak 
such language." 

" Free country, young Levite," cried Wilber, 
his face hardening with pride. "We're not in 
the class-room now, Deacon, and I'll say just 
what I please." 

Then he went on to utter further blasphemy. 
With a heavy heart I left the room whilst he was 
still speaking, followed by all except Wilber and 
his evil genius, the classmate against whom he 
had been so vainly warned. On the following 
day Wilber departed for the East with his family ; 
and though one year and a half had gone by 
from the time of that unhappy banquet, I had 
not seen him since. 

On reading his letter I decided to comply 
with his request at once, and accordingly I ar- 
rived at the depot near Fairmount Grove that 
afternoon at three o'clock. 

What was my dismay when I saw awaiting me 
at the depot not the gay, handsome, athletic 
Wilber of college days, but a sad, gaunt, hollow- 
eyed young man, so changed in appearance that 
I could hardly bring myself to believe it was the 
same person. 



206 My Strange Friend. 

As he caught my eyes his face lighted up 
with pleasure. 

" O Tom, Tom! how glad — how very glad I 
am to see you ! " 

I rushed forward to give him a hearty hand- 
shake, but he drew back with an air of timidity 
ill-befitting the bold Wilber of former days. Re- 
covering himself by an evident effort, he took 
my hand in his. He held it for a moment in a 
cold, pressureless grasp, and then drew back as 
though he had done a guilty deed. 

" Your hand is cold," he said nervously. 

I looked at him closely, but the welcome on 
his face belied his actions. I was puzzled. 

" You find something strange about me, 
Tom," he said in reply to my look, " but if you 
only knew all. Don't think that you are not 
most welcome. Here, jump in," he added, 
motioning to a sleigh that I knew to be his. 

As we jingled along to Fairmount Grove we 
fell into an earnest talk about old times, in the 
course of which, however, through motives of 
delicacy, I avoided bringing in a single allusion 
to matters of religion, fearing that perhaps it 
might awaken unpleasant memories. 

''So you are studying for the priesthood?' 
he resumed after a short lull in our conversation. 



My Strange Friend. 207 

" Yes, Wilber; and I hope to give my whole 
life to the service of God." 

What was my astonishment when, at the men- 
tion of the sacred name, he released one hand 
from its hold upon the reins, and lifted his hat 
with an air of devotion that was a sermon in 
itself. 

" Ah, Wilber," I cried in delight, " I knew 
it would end so ; I knew that you would come 
back to the old way of looking at things." 

He turned his face towards mine, and with a 
frightened, wistful expression in his eyes, asked : 

" Tom, what does our divine Lord say about 
the scandalizing of little ones? " 

li It were better that a millstone were placed 
about the scandalizer's neck, and that he were 
cast into the depth of the sea." 

" Just so," he responded with a sigh, and an 
expression that was pitiful, " and yet He is such 
a good, such a merciful God, too." 

"Indeed He is," I answered. "We can 
none of us begin to understand how tenderly 
God loves us." 

" Say that again," he said softly, while a smile 
warmed his face into melancholy beauty. 

I repeated my words, and continued to talk in 
the same strain, as I saw what evident pleasure 



208 My Strange Friend. 

the subject afforded him. When I had come to 
a pause, he added : 

" And yet He is so terrible in His denuncia- 
tions of those who scandalize His little ones." 

lt Yes," I made reply, " but there is forgive- 
ness for them if they repent. But cheer up, 
Wilber; what makes you so sad ? " 

" I have many reasons, Tom. Just one 
month ago mother died." 

"Indeed! — your mother dead? O Wilber! 
why didn't you let me know? It must have 
been an awful blow to you." 

" But that's not the worst, Tom. I knew for 
a month before that some one very dear to me 
was going to die." 

I was again amazed. 

" How in the world did you know that? ' 

"I can't tell, Tom, but listen" — his voice 
sank to a whisper — " what day of the month is 
this?" 

" The fourteenth of January." 

" Very well, on the twentieth of January — -" 
here he paused while the lines upon his face in- 
dicated some terrible agony — " on the twentieth 
of January — O my God ! — some one else dear to 
me will die." 

The groan which accompanied his ejaculation 



My Strange Friend. 209 

sent a shiver through me ; I began to fear that 
I was in the company of a madman. But he 
read my thoughts as though I had framed them 
in words. 

(< No, no; it is no hallucination; I am not 
out of my senses," he exclaimed; "nor can I 
now explain to you how I know such things ; 
but what I say is true." 

I made no reply, and my silence might have 
been awkward were it not for the fact that at this 
juncture we turned into the winding roadway 
which leads up to the spacious country house of 
Fairmount Grove. Standing at the gate was a 
bevy of boys and girls from the tot of three to 
the hoiden of fifteen, smiling and waving hats 
and handkerchiefs at my delighted self. I re- 
membered them all — the ll tigers" was my 
name for them — and, if signals of welcome go 
for anything, they remembered me. 

" Hurrah!" cried Charlie, the oldest lad of the 
group, a cousin of Wilbers, "here's Uncle Tom 
come at last." 

Though I was in nowise related to any of 
Wilber's cousins, they had insisted on calling me 
Uncle Tom from the first time that I showed 
myself to their delighted eyes in the full dress 
of young manhood. 



210 My Strange Friend. 

No sooner had the horse come to a stop be- 
fore the gate than all the tigers, with the excep- 
tions of the two older ones, sprang upon me 
with a series of joyful screams and friendly 
struggles, pulled me from my seat and out of the 
vehicle, and cast me down into a deep bank of 
snow, the more astute of them in the meantime 
emptying my overcoat pockets of various small 
packages, which, little rogues, they knew I 
would not fail to bring by w r ay of a peace- 
offering. 

We had a merry time of it on that winter 
afternoon, the tigers pulling me this way and 
that, forcing me to play the elephant, exhaust- 
ing my entire stock of fairy tales, then clamor- 
ing for more, and, in fine, exacting of their 
Uncle Tom ample amends for his long absence. 
It was great fun for them, and, I may add without 
apology, for myself, too ; for I love little chil- 
dren, and sincerely pity the man who does 
not. 

Throughout this round of amusement Wilber 
had contented himself with being merely an on- 
looker. He witnessed our rompings and tum- 
blings with a strange, sad, timorous, yet pleased 
expression, and whenever he spoke to the chil- 
dren, it was in so sweet a voice, in so gentle a 



My Strange Friend. 211 

manner, that one would think he was addressing 
himself to superior beings. As we were going 
up the stairway at bedtime, I made a remark to 
that effect. 

"You are right, Tom," he answered; "I do 
regard them as superior beings ; for they are, 
God be thanked for it, pure and innocent, and 
whenever I am in their company I cannot help 
bearing in mind that their guardian angels ever 
see the face of their Father who is in heaven." 

Once more was I impressed with the thrilling, 
awe-inspiring reverence of his voice and expres- 
sion. It was such a change in Wilber, who of 
all my school companions and friends had ever 
been the least reverent. 

" Here," he continued, throwing open a door, 
" this is your room. It is next to mine." 

"Good," I said; "if I feel at all wakeful, 
which is not at all likely after the events of this 
day, I will give you a call." 

With an air of secrecy he closed the door, and 
said to me in a tone of voice which was little 
more than a whisper : 

" Tom, my friend, if I should happen to come 
in here during the night at any time, you 
wouldn't mind it, would you? " 

"Certainly not, Wilber: you shall be most 



212 My Strange Friend. 

welcome," I replied, though I must confess that 
I could not control a motion of astonishment. 

" Thank you very much. And, Tom, if you 
note anything strange or out of the way in my 
conduct in case I come in, you must try not to 
mind. I should like to — to tell you all, if I 
dared ; but I really cannot — at least, not yet. 
Perhaps the time will soon come." 

" But at any rate, tell me this, Wilber : is not 
your health seriously affected? You look far 
from being a well man. You are very thin, and 
worn, and are excessively nervous." 

" I can't tell — I can't speak out," he made 
answer in a voice that had become loud and 
hoarse. Then he caught at bis throat as though 
he were choking, and resumed in a lower key : 
" It is wearing me away. Doctors have exam- 
ined me, and have all been obliged to give it 
up; and no wonder. But good-night, Tom. 
Suppose we shake hands: you are warm now." 

He shook my hand with almost an excess of 
cordiality, and then quietly departed, leaving 
me to wonder and surmise far into the night. 

I had not long been asleep, so far as I could 
judge, when an uneasy sensation to the effect 
that something or some one was in the room 
began to trouble my slumbers. After a few 



My Strange Friend. 213 

struggles I succeeded in awaking sufficiently to 
realize that a man was in the room. I sat up 
fully awake, and discovered by the pale light of 
the moon shining full through my window that 
Wilber, his face distorted by terror, was beside 
me. 

" Come closer, Wilber," I said, endeavoring, 
despite an uncanny feeling, to put a note of cor- 
dial welcome into my voice. 

"Oh, I am so glad that you are awake," he 
whispered. " Let me be near you. Let me 
take your hand. There, now, my dear friend, 
lie down again and try to go to sleep. Don't 
talk. You need your rest. All I ask is to be 
near you. " 

I ventured to make a few remarks, but he 
begged me to compose myself to sleep. 

He sat beside me on the bed, meanwhile, 
holding my hand, his large, lustrous eyes dis- 
tended with fright. Occasionally, in a tone so 
low and indistinct that I rather apprehended 
than heard what he said, he muttered, " On the 
twentieth of January, one that is near and dear 
to me will die." 

It is needless to say that I slept little. At 
the first break of day he stole away quietly. 

The following night witnessed a repetition of 



214 My Strange Friend. 

the same incident, whereupon I suggested to 
Wilber that he should make my room his own — a 
suggestion which he accepted with alacrity. His 
bed was removed to my room, and we were thus 
brought almost constantly together. From that 
time, and until January the nineteenth, all went 
well. Then came the twentieth of January. 

" Tom," he said, on that memorable night as 
we entered our room, "may I ask a particular 
favor of you? " 

"Certainly, Wilber; I shall be only too glad 
to do you any favor in my power." 

" Thank you, Tom. Please, then, stay up 
with me to-night ; for I know that I shall not 
be able to sleep." 

"With pleasure, Wilber; but how shall we 
pass the time ? " 

"Tell me something about God's mercy, Tom; 
I love to hear you speak on that topic." 

Fortunately, just previous to my visit, I had 
read and pondered over Father Florentine Bon- 
dreaux's excellent work entitled "God, Our 
Father," and so I could speak with some flu- 
ency on this beautiful subject. Wilber listened 
to me with an interest which was intense, al- 
though at times strange fits of trembling came 
upon him. 



My Strange Friend. 215 

" But, Wilber," I said when one of these 
paroxysms had passed, "do you really entertain 
any doubts of God's mercy? " 

" No, no," he exclaimed earnestly, throwing 
out his hands with vehemence. "Not a man 
living, I dare say, has more reason to have faith 
in His goodness than I ; and the very secret 
which is consuming me teaches me how very, 
very good He is." 

"But if the secret is injuring you so much, 
why not tell it to — " 

I stopped short ; for an expression so un- 
earthly and awe-inspiring had come over his 
face, that it would be useless to attempt its de- 
scription. To this day that expression haunts 
me. As it came upon him, he sprang from his 
chair, and with bated breath appeared to be 
listening. A moment passed ; another and an- 
other, amidst a dead silence made horrible by 
the ticking of the great hall-clock; then, with a 
sob he sank back upon his chair, and bending 
low his head, buried his face in his hands. 

" Dead! dead! " he groaned. 

" Who? ,: I faltered, wiping my brow, for I 
too was possessed by fear. The clock sounded 
eleven, as he answered: 

" Ah! I shall know soon enough." 



216 My Strange Friend. 

The remaining hours of the night passed 
slowly ; but from that moment Wilber became 
more composed. At the first gray dash of dawn 
upon the blackness of the eastern horizon he 
fell into a heavy sleep, and, taking advantage of 
this, I threw myself upon my bed and was soon 
unconscious. 

I had not slept beyond two hours when I was 
awakened by some one pulling at my sleeve. It 
was Charlie, Wilber's cousin, to whom I have 
already referred. His eyes were wet with tears. 

II Hello! ' I exclaimed, " what's the matter, 
Charlie? " 

" Papa's dead," said Charlie, beginning to 
cry afresh. " He died at our house in town 
last night, and I shall never see him again." 



II. 



Charlie's father had been Wilber's best be- 
loved uncle. Yet the bitterness of loss fell more 
easily upon my friend than the vague presenti- 
ment of it, and from that time he began to rest 
more quietly. I flattered myself, therefore, 
that the worst was over, and that Wilber's 
troubles had already touched their highest mark. 

About eleven o'clock, on the night of Feb- 



My Strange Friend. 217 

ruary the fourth, however, I was aroused by 
some one clutching my arm. Looking up, I saw 
Wilber in such an agony as God grant I may 
never again witness upon the face of any human 
being. His eyes, protruding from his head, 
gleamed with a strange light, his limbs were 
quivering and so unsteady that he swayed from 
side to side, while his face was moist and beaded 
with perspiration. 

"Wilber, Wilber! what ails you? ' : I cried. 

" O my God ! " he murmured. 

There was no need for me to question further. 
I saw it all now. Another warning had come, 
and together we were to face the tortures of 
thirty nights of presentiment. 

Like a drowning man he clung to my arm, 
and held it hour for hour, shivering and praying 
till the glad dawn broke. 

The days that followed were indeed gloomy. 
Wilber appeared to be unequal to this fresh 
trial, and every hour seemed to set its seal of 
decay upon him. In two weeks' time he was 
hardly able to go about. His doctor, a man 
high in the profession, said that the case was 
baffling in every respect. 

But strange to say, as Wilber's physical facul- 
ties grew weaker his will and mind gathered 



218 My Strange Friend. 

strength. His gloomy fits became rarer, and he 
began to sleep quite soundly. In lieu of trie 
weariness and unrest that formerly possessed his 
features, there came gradually a look of deep 
calm and abiding peace. Towards the end of 
February he was obliged to keep to his bed. 

On March the third he called me to his side, 
and begged to be allowed to speak to me alone. 

All left the room, and I seated myself upon 
his bed. 

" Tom," he began, "you know what is going 
to happen soon. Some one near to me is going 
to die." 

I bowed my head. 

" Do you know who it is? " 

"No, Wilber." 

" But I do," he answered with a certain 
triumph in his manner. "It's myself; and I 
am so happy, Tom, for I know who it is that 
will judge me." 

He pointed to a picture of the Sacred Heart 
on the wall. 

" That most loving Heart is the Heart of my 
judge." 

Ah ! how beautiful he looked, as his face 
softened with love and hope. 

" I'm afraid, Wilber, that you are right. God 



My Strange Friend. 219 

is about to take you away. But I am glad, in- 
deed I am, that you are in such peace." 

" Before I do anything else, Tom, I want to 
tell you of that awful mystery — for I feel at last 
that I can talk of it. When you become a 
priest of God it may be of service to you. Ah, 
Tom, sometimes I think that I might have be- 
come a priest if I hadn't gone wrong. Then 
I'd have done some good, but now here I am a 
wreck. It's too late. ' Too late, too late, you 
cannot enter now.' " 

His voice trembled as he quoted Tennyson's 
exquisite paraphrase. 

"You remember," he went on, "my conduct 
on graduation night ? Well, I carried on in 
that way, blaspheming God and His saints, but 
always careful to keep such words and senti- 
ments from my relations. When mother and I 
returned from our trip East, things went on 
smoothly till last Christmas a year ago. During 
the holidays all my little cousins and nephews 
and nieces — your tigers, you know — came here 
for a visit, and for a few days we were a merry 
party. Shortly after New Year's day I wanted 
to go to town to hear a certain lecturer who 
made fun of religion for one dollar a head. 
Somehow my father came to hear of my pur- 



220 My Strange Friend. 

pose. He called me to his room, gave me a 
severe scolding, and ordered me not to leave 
home for a month. He was furious; but be- 
fore he had said much — you know my pride, 
Tom — I was furious too, and there were high 
words between us. On returning to , my room 
I found a letter on my desk with news of the 
sudden death of one of my new friends. You 
know the kind of a friend that means, Tom, but 
I really had liked him very much. 

"The dinner hour then found me in a most 
unhappy frame of mind. After some attempts 
to compose myself, I strode into the dining-hall, 
where father, mother, and all those little children 
were already seated, and without looking at any 
one I threw myself into a chair. 

" ' Wilber,' said my father, ' you forget your 
grace. ' 

" 'No, I don't. Bah! as if there were any- 
thing to be thankful for.' 

"O Tom! you should have seen how pale 
and puzzled and frightened those little children 
became. And my dear mother! When I think 
of the sad look that came upon her sweet face, 
and see her put her trembling hand to her heart, 
I can hardly keep from weeping. And yet, 
brute that I was, I didn't soften . in the least ; 



My Strange Friend. 221 

no, not even when her trembling hand rested 
upon her cheek, and her dear eyes filled with 
tears. My father could not speak. 

"Poor mother was dazed; I could see it. 
She could not credit her ears ; with an effort 
she mastered herself and spoke. 

" * Come, my dear boy,' she said in her gen- 
tlest tones, ' you are not yourself. God has 
been ever good to us ; there is nothing we can 
ask for that He has not given us/ 

" * Indeed! ' I exclaimed in the brutality of 
pride, ' there are a good many things He doesn't 
give us, seeing He's such a good God.' Tom, 
I should have stopped there, at least. For 
again my mother's hand went to her heart, her 
lips quivered, and all the happiness of her life 
left her face ; but — God forgive me — I went on 
and added: 'Why, for instance, can't I know 
beforehand when my friends are going to die?' 

Cl 'O Wilber! ' and the words sounded as 
though they came from a broken heart, ' that I 
should live to see this day;' and my mother 
buried her head in her hands. 

"I see it again, those little children, their 
innocent faces fixed in horror, my mother bent 
in grief, my father utterly at a loss what step to 
take. There I sat gazing haughtily upon all, 



222 My Stra?ige Friend. 

when suddenly I sprang to my feet and would 
have fled, but that I was rooted to the spot. 
There was a cold, clammy grip upon my 
shoulder. I turned, but there was no one be- 
hind me and still that cold, chilling pressure as 
of an icy hand moved slowly along my arm, till 
it caught my hand with a strength that I cannot 
describe, for it was not the strength of physical 
force, and words stop short of beginning to 
describe it. Then my hand, released of that 
awful grip, dropped powerless to my side, 
while in my ears I heard the sound as of a death- 
rattle. I gazed wildly about the room, and saw 
that all were looking at me in utter consterna- 
tion. 

" I attempted to cry out, but it was impossi- 
ble for me to utter a sound. At length the 
rattle ceased ; the spell was broken, and I 
rushed from the hall, and sought refuge in my 
own room. For hours I paced up and down in 
the most terrible mental suffering; then, at ran- 
dom, I picked up a book, which chanced to be a 
collection of autographs, and opened it at these 
words: 

" ' I shall love thee, even after the cold hand 
of death hath touched thee.' 

" I threw the book aside with my first sense 



My Strange Friend. 223 

of terror revived. An hour later I took up an- 
other book. This time it was the Bible. Per- 
haps you may guess what I rer.d : 

;4 'But he that shall scandalize one of these 
little ones that believe in Me, it were better for 
him that a millstone should be hanged about his 
neck, and that he should be drowned in the 
depth of the sea.' 

''One month from that day, another of my 
former friends died. Then I knew what that 
strange occurrence meant. God had heard my 
wish, to punish and correct me. Three months 
later, the same dreadful feeling — and a month 
later my mother died. Tom, I had hastened her 
death ; I had broken her heart. 

"You know the rest, Tom; but you cannot 
see, as I do, how merciful God has been to me. 
Oh, He is indeed a good God, and what seems 
His severest chastisements are often His tender- 
est mercies." 

Late the next evening all the little ones 
gathered about the bed of the dying man. In 
faltering accents he told them enough of his 
secret to repair, as far as could be, the dreadful 
scandal ; and the sobs of his listeners were the 
only interruption. 

" Wilber, my Doy," said his father, " as you 



224 My Strange Friend. 

yourself say, God has been indeed most merciful 
to you." 

" Yes, father, and I have often thought that, 
aside from my mother's prayers, He did it to 
reward me for the one heroic act of my life. It 
was heroic for me when, through love for Tom 
here and to humble my pride, I gave up my 
chance for that Longfellow prize." 

A few moments later the hand of death had 
lost its power over him forever. 



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of Him. i2mo, o 85 

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Claude Lightfoot ; or, How the Problem was Solved. 

i2mo, o 85 

Ethelred Preston; or, The Adventures of a Newcomer. 

i2mo, o 8s 

Mostly Boys. i6mo, o 8t 



Father Finn's books are, in the opinion of the best critics, standard works 
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FIVE O'CLOCK STORIES ; or, The Old Tales Told Again. 
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FRANCIS DE SALES, ST. Guide for Confession and Com- 
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Maxims and Counsels for Every Day. 321x10, o 50 

New Year Greetings. 32mo, flexible cloth, 15 cents ; per 

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This is the best, the cheapest, and the most popular illustrated 
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Prayer. 32mo, net, o 40 

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GREETINGS TO THE CHRIST-CHILD. A Collection of Christ- 
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The Interior of Jesus and Mary. Edited by Rev. Samuel H. 



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HAMON'S MEDITATIONS. See under Meditations, 5 vols. 
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HANDBOOK FOR ALTAR SOCIETIES, and Guide for Sacris- 
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HANDBOOK OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. For the use 
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HAPPY YEAR, A ; or, The Year Sanctified by Meditating on the 
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HEART, THE, OF ST. JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL. 
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HIDDEN TREASURE; or, The Value and Excellence of the 
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HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. By Dr H. Brueck. 

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HOURS BEFORE THE ALTAR; or, Meditations on the Holy 
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HUNOLT'S SERMONS. Sermons by the Rev. Francis Hunolt, 
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Per set of 2 


Vols. 


1, 


2. 


Vols. 


3. 


4- 


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5, 


6. 


Vols. 


7> 


8. 


Vols. 


9> 


10. 


Vols. 


ii, 


12. 



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Treves. Translated from the original German edition of 
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The Christian State of Life. 
The Bad Christian. 
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fancy of Christ. Abridged Sermons for all the 
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The instructions treat of the great dignity of matrimony, its indissolubility, 
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MEANS OF GRACE, THE. A Complete Exposition of the Seven 
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SECRET OF SANCTITY, THE. According to St. Francis de 
Sales and Father Crasset, S.J. 12010, net, 1 00 

SERAPHIC GUIDE. A Manual for the Members of the Third 
Order of St. Francis. o 60 

Roan, red edges, o 75 

The same in German at the same prices. 

SERMONS, HUNOLT. See under Hunolt. 

SERMONS ON THE BLESSED VIRGIN. By Very Rev. D. I. 
McDermott. i6mo, net, o 75 

SERMONS for the Sundays and Chief Festivals of the Ecclesiastical 
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the German by Rev. James Conway, S.J. 2 vols., 8vo, net, 2 50 



14 STANDARD CATHOLIC BOOKS. 

SERMONS, SHORT, FOR LOW MASSES. A complete, brief 
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SERMONS, SIX, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From 
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SHORT CONFERENCES ON THE LITTLE OFFICE OF THE 
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. By Very Rev. Joseph 
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SHORT STORIES ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE: A Collection 
of Examples illustrating the Catechism. From the French by 
Mary McMahon. i2mo, illustrated, net, o 75 

SMITH, Rev. S. B., D.D. Elements of Ecclesiastical Law. 

Vol. I. Ecclesiastical Persons. 8vo, net, 2 50 

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Vol. III. Ecclesiastical Punishments. 8vo, net, 2 50 

Compendium Juris Canonici, ad usum Cleri et Seminariorum 

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The Marriage Process in the United States. 8vo, net, 2 50 



SODALISTS' VADE MECUM. A Manual, Prayer Book, and 
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Also in finer bindings. 

SOUVENIR OF THE NOVITIATE. From the French by Rev. 
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SPIRITUAL CRUMBS FOR HUNGRY LITTLE SOULS. To 
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STORY OF JESUS SIMPLY TOLD FOR THE YOUNG. By 

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SURE WAY TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE. A Book of Instructions 
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TALES AND LEGENDS OF THE MIDDLE AGES. From the 
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THINK WELL ON'T; or, Reflections on the Great Truths of the 
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32mo, flexible cloth, o 20 

THOUGHT FROM ST. ALPHONSUS, for Every Day of the Year, 

32mo, o 50 

THOUGHT FROM BENEDICTINE SAINTS. 32mo, o 50 



STANDARD CATHOLIC BOOKS \% 

THOUGHT FROM DOMINICAN SAINTS. 321110, o 50 

THOUGHT FROM ST. FRANCIS ASS1SI and his Saints. 

321210, o 50 

THOUGHT FROM ST. IGNATIUS. 32tno, o 50 

THOUGHT FROM ST. TERESA. 32tno, o 50 

THOUGHT FROM ST. VINCENT DE PAUL. 3200, o 50 

TRUE SPOUSE OF CHRIST. By St. Alphonsus Liguori. 

2 vols., i2mo, net, 2.50 ; 1 vol., 121210, 1 50 

TRUTHS OF SALVATION. By Rev. J. Pergmayr, SJ. From 

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TWELVE VIRTUES, THE, of a Good Teacher. For Mothers, 
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WARD, REV. THOMAS F. Fifty-two Instructions on the Prin- 
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Thirty-two Instructions for the Month of May and for the 

Feasts of the Blessed Virgin. 121210, net, o 75 

Month of May at Mary's Altar. 121110, net, o 75 



WAY OF INTERIOR PEACE. By Rev. Father De Lehen, 
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WENINGER'S SERMONS. 

Original Short and Practical Sermons for Every Sunday of the 

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WHAT CATHOLICS HAVE DONE FOR SCIENCE, with 

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Brennan. 121210, 1 00 

WOMEN OF CATHOLICITY: Margaret O' Carroll— Isabella of 
Castile — Margaret Roper — Marie de 1' Incarnation — Margaret 
Bourgeoys — Ethan Allen's Daughter. By Anna T. Sadlier. 
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WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST DURING HIS PASSION, explained 
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ZEAL IN THE V/ORK OF THE MINISTRY; or, The Means by 
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CATHOLIC NOVELS. 

American Authors' Series. 



MR. BILLY BUTTONS. 

By Walter Lecky. 12 mo, cloth, . . . . . $1.25 
This book, of which the scene is laid in a little town in the 
Adirondack Mountains, abounds in vivid bits of description, sugges- 
tive of Thoreau in their appreciation of nature, in dramatic and 
touching situations, and the quaint characters of Billy Buttons, Cagy, 
Weeks, etc., are sketched to the life. 

A WOMAN OF FORTUNE. 

By Christian Reid. i2mo, cloth, $1.25 

In all of her novels Christian Reid works with care, and with a 
good ethical and artistic purpose, and these are essential needs in 
the building up of an American literature. The heroine of the 
present story is a Southern girl of rare beauty and wealth, and of a 
very independent and perhaps wilful disposition. 

THE VOCATION OF EDWARD CONWAY. 

By Maurice Francis Egan. i2mo, cloth, . . . $1-25 

This is a novel of modern American life. The scene is laid in a 
pleasant colony of cultivated people on the banks of the Hudson, not 
far from West Point. A competent critic pronounces this the best 
novel Mr. Egan has written. 

PASSING SHADOWS. 

By Anthony Yorke. i2mo, cloth, $1-25 

" Passing Shadows" is a New York story, the scene of which is 
laid, for the most part, in the lower east side of the city. It is a 
simple tale of love in a neighborhood that has not been much exploited 
by Catholic writers. 

A ROUND TABLE 

Of Representative American Catholic Novelists, at which is Served 
a Feast of Excellent Stories by Eleanor C. Donnelly, Ella Lorame 
Dorsey, Anna Hanson Dorsey, Maurice Francis Egan, Francis J. 
Finn, S.J., Walter Lecky, Christian Reid, Mary A. Sadlier, Anna 
T. Sadlier, John Talbot Smith, George Warren Stoddard. With 
portraits, biographical sketches, and bibliography. i2mo, cloth, $1.50. 
Contains short stories by the best Catholic novelists of America. 

BENZIGER BROTHERS: NEW YORK, CINCINNATI. CHICAGO. 



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